Michael J. New: Chelsea Clinton, Research Does Not Show Abortion Is Economically Beneficial to Women

Last month, Chelsea Clinton generated a firestorm of controversy with comments at a “Rise up for Roe” rally in Manhattan about the economic impact of the Roe v. Wade decision. Clinton stated that “American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added three and a half trillion dollars to our economy.” Her remarks were widely criticized by a number of conservative media outlets including The FederalistNational ReviewBreitbartTownhall.com, and CNSNews.com. Some commentators disagreed with her economic logic. Others rightly felt that no amount of economic prosperity justified removing legal protections for the unborn.

In the aftermath of this backlash, Clinton took to social media to defend herself. On Twitter she responded to both a Newsweek article and tweets by conservative pundits Erick Erickson and Dinesh D’Souza. Clinton claimed that her remarks were being taken out of context. Specifically, she steered the conversation away from the wealth creation since Roe v. Wade and argued that legalizing abortion created more economic opportunities for women. She tweeted to one woman that “reproductive rights have always been economic rights.”

In her responses to her online critics, Clinton linked to four studies in an attempt to make the case that legalizing abortion was economically beneficial to women. However, the research she cites fails to advance her argument. Of the four studies, two looked at how access to contraception – not abortion – affected female labor force participation. A third study was a paper published by the Center for American Progress which finds somewhat better economic outcomes for women living in states with greater “reproductive health care access.” However, this study simply compares state level averages and fails to consider a number of confounding variables that likely impact the economic well-being of women.

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Source: Christian Post