What are the economic aspects of the attack on women's reproductive rights?

Why is it so important for the right, apart from their hypocritical moralist arguments, to curtail women's right to choose abortion? Is there an economic side to it, or is it only a matter of "principles"? Although, of course, the same principles do not apply once the child is born and is in need.

Official response from submitted

While there are multiple reasons for the right's focus on abortion, since you ask about an economic side or reason, let me offer a comment. Middle and upper income Americans who want abortions have been able to obtain them through much of history by using their money to go to where they are illegal or to purchase them illegally. Banning legal abortions is mostly a problem for poorer people who cannot then access abortions. They will thus have more children which (1) adds to the available labor pool (pushing down wages as more people compete for jobs), and (2) adds to the costs and responsibilities of parents correspondingly less likely to engage in risky political or labor union action to improve their jobs and incomes. Allowing legal abortion gives millions of families a way of taking control over so important a decision as having a child and as such might well encourage families to want to take parallel controls of other important life decisions like economic decisions  (about jobs, income distribution, govt programs, etc.); the system instinctively works against this. Another way to get at this is to see the right as a complex political alliance. That alliance includes capitalist employers who worry that they are too small a percentage of the population and thus need a mass base to ally with. If they can find a religious institution having difficulty holding onto its flock, a deal can be struck that advantages both sides. Business gets a mass base of people organized into, say, churches, who will endorse and support pro-capitalist govt policies, while the churches get business support for institutional imperatives like opposition to abortion. In the US, the Republican party has long depended on such an alliance to exist.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-01-25 12:22:08 -0500
  • Antonio Costa
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-01-25 07:45:47 -0500