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  • The Supreme Court seems poised to overturn abortion case Roe v. Wade.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that could damage the economy.
  • Yellen said it could also “set women back decades,” and potentially disrupt labor force participation. 

On May 2, Politico released the leak heard around the world: The Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that gave Americans the constitutional right to an abortion.

While the ruling is still far from final, the Supreme Court confirmed that the draft was authentic. 

The leak sparked immediate backlash from protesters and politicians alike. One emerging concern over a potential overturning are the economic repercussions for a still-recovering country, where women have already been on the short end of job gains and employment.

“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,” Yellen said at a Senate Banking committee hearing on Tuesday.

As the US still tries to rebound from the economic fallout of the pandemic, labor force participation — a key measure that tracks how many Americans are working or actively looking for work — hasn’t recovered. In fact, it dipped in April. Yellen said that Roe helped up women’s participation.

“Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation,” she said. “It enabled many women to finish school — that increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers.”

She warned that restraining access to abortion would increase the likelihood of women needing social welfare benefits to avoid slipping into poverty.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has expressed similar concerns over the economic fallout of Roe being overturned.

“This will impact women individually, but also is going to impact our economy as a whole,” Walsh told Insider on Friday. “I don’t think we could underscore the importance of what actions potentially could happen at the court.”

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco surveyed 1,000 women who had sought abortions over five years for The Turnaway Study. They found that women turned away from receiving an abortion who went to give birth experienced more poverty than woman who had received an abortion. The women turned away saw their debts increase, and credit scores sink.

President Joe Biden pledged to fight to protect abortion access a week ago, saying in a statement that “we will be ready when any ruling issued.” However, the Biden administration has few options at its disposal. The Washington Post reported that the White House weighing executive actions to help low-income women residing in GOP-led states to access abortion care.

Senate Democrats are setting up a largely symbolic vote for Wednesday aimed at codifying the Roe v. Wade ruling and to mold it into law, Insider’s Oma Seddiq reported. It’s bound to fail since Democrats haven’t amassed enough support to gut the Senate’s 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster.