There's a reason Democrats are touting the economic benefits of abortion
Led by Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, the newest "official" Democrat mantra about abortion has abandoned the language of rights and now asserts that doing away with abortion will severely damage the American economy, especially among minorities. Yes, that is revolting Marxist utilitarianism, but there's something more important happening here: the Democrats are trying to give themselves the constitutional authority to do an end run around the Supreme Court's anticipated ruling returning abortion to the states.
It seems pretty certain that the Supreme Court will jettison Roe v. Wade, the decision holding that women have an inherent constitutional right to abortion. Instead, under the draft opinion, which it appears will be the final opinion, the Court holds correctly that abortion is outside the Constitution and, therefore, is a matter that belongs solely to the states.
With Roe on its way out, Sen. Chuck Schumer immediately (and unsuccessfully) forced a Senate vote on the "Women's Health Protection Act of 2022" (WHPA), an incredibly radical statute that would make unlimited abortion the law across America. How radical is it? For starters, despite the title, neither the words "woman" nor "women" appear anywhere in the substantive language. Instead, the bill protects "a person's ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy[.]" The words "fetus," "child," and "baby" are also absent.
But it's the WHPA's substantive provisions that are truly radical. The bill prohibits states from limiting abortions in any way, such as requiring tests, doctors' visits, mandatory delays, informational pamphlets, etc. That's because the bill's purpose is no-holds-barred, completely unlimited abortion.
When it comes to ending states' rights and religious liberty, the bill is serious:
Except as stated under subsection (b), this Act supersedes and applies to the law of the Federal Government and each State government, and the implementation of such law, whether statutory, common law, or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the date of enactment of this Act, and neither the Federal Government nor any State government shall administer, implement, or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard, or other provision having the force and effect of law that conflicts with any provision of this Act, notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993[.]
To be super-duper-safe, the bill explicitly states that the Tenth Amendment (vesting in the states all power not explicitly given to the federal government) is inapplicable.
Image: Janet Yellen before the Senate Banking Committee (edited). YouTube screen grab.
There's a big problem with the WHPA, though, and that Tenth Amendment language is the giveaway: the probable Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization explicitly says that abortion is a purely states' rights matter. In other words, in addition to negating a constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court is set to state with absolute clarity that the federal government has neither interest in nor power over this issue. This means Congress has no authority to enact a nationwide law or erase the states' powers to act on this issue.
So why would the Democrats even try to pass the WHPA if it's unconstitutional on its face? Part of the reason is to show that they really support abortion "rights." But the other, more subtle, reason is that they're getting their ducks in a row to regain constitutional authority. They're doing this by asserting that abortion is an economic issue involving interstate commerce — and Congress has sole legislative control over interstate commerce.
The bill itself alludes to this point when it holds that one factor in considering whether a state bill is prohibited is "[w]hether the limitation or requirement is reasonably likely to result in a decrease in the availability of abortion services in a given State or geographic region." And then there's Treasury secretary Janet Yellen's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, which, in theory, shouldn't be interested in abortion:
Here's the key language:
Eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades. Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation. It enabled many women to finish school, that increased their earning potential, and allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers. And research also shows that it had a favorable impact on the well-being and earnings of children.
Other leftist outlets are also arguing that abortion will destroy the economy.
The New Yorker: The Devastating Economic Impacts of an Abortion Ban
Democrats aren't stupid. The focus on the economy isn't just a scare tactic that provides another excuse for Biden's disastrous economy. Instead, they are getting their ducks in a row to assert an alternative path for federal power to make unlimited abortion the law of the land.