WREN Testimony in Opposition to Abortion Ban
by WREN Staff on Aug 17, 2022
WREN’s CEO Ann Warner testified during the August 17 Senate Medical Affairs Committee:
Thank you, Chairman Verdin, for the opportunity to address the Senate Medical Affairs Committee today. My name is Ann Warner, and I am the CEO of WREN, a South Carolina-based non-partisan non-profit organization with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of women, girls, gender expansive people, and their families in South Carolina.
My remarks today will focus on the acute and long-lasting economic consequences that abortion bans will have on individuals, households, and our state’s economy.
Many South Carolinians are already facing serious economic challenges. 15% of women live below the federal poverty line, and about 40% of single mothers live in poverty.1 South Carolina has one of the widest gender and racial wage gaps in the country. 2
Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are extremely costly. In fact, financial reasons are among the main reasons that people seek abortions. These proposed laws do nothing to address the economic conditions that compel people to seek abortion. Instead, they would vastly increase economic hardship – forcing costs to go up and earning potential to go down for the households that can least afford it.
The Turnaway Study is a rigorous, longitudinal study comparing women who received the abortions they sought with women who were denied abortion because of legal restrictions. Women who were turned away from a wanted abortion and went on to give birth were nearly four times as likely to be living in poverty and three times as likely to be unemployed relative to those who received an abortion. Years after an abortion denial, women were more likely to not have enough money to cover basic living expenses like food, housing, and transportation.3
The women who couldn’t get an abortion were 78 percent more likely to end up with delinquent debt and 81% more likely to have an increase in negative credit.4 Women denied abortion are more likely to remain tethered to abusive partners – in large part because of their financial dependency on their abusers. The consequences are intergenerational: children born as a result of abortion denial are more likely to live in poverty than children born from a subsequent pregnancy to women who received the abortion.
These bans will hurt South Carolina businesses. After Indiana issued its total abortion ban, drug manufacturer Eli Lilly issued a statement that the new law will hinder their ability to recruit talent and they “will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state.” Polling data shows that 70 percent of women and 59 percent of men ages 18-44 report that they would be discouraged from taking a job in a state that restricts access to abortion.5 Women are a vital and growing part of our labor force here in South Carolina, but they will not be available to work if they cannot determine their reproductive futures.
Being able to manage one’s own decisions about pregnancy and parenting is fundamental to our economic dignity. A legal framework that upholds that right is fundamental to our state’s economic stability and democratic integrity.
South Carolina’s families, businesses, and future generations should not be forced to pay the price for this out-of-control government overreach. We urge the members of this Committee to put a stop to this cruel and costly legislation and vote NO.