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Reviews | Tim Scott: Abortion is not the way to help single black mothers

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Tim Scott, a Republican, represents South Carolina in the US Senate.

My mother raised my brother and me alone, struggling to make ends meet. She worked 16 hours a day three days a week and eight hours a day two days a week, just to keep the food on the table and the lights on.

She was a nurse’s aide, changing bedpans and rolling patients. She did this work because she wanted to teach my brother and me the lesson that there is dignity in all work and dignity in all life.

I thought of my mother — all black mothers like her — during an appearance last week by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, when asked Yellen how an abortion ban could affect the US economy.

“I believe that taking away women’s right to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very detrimental effects on the economy,” Yellen said.

She went on to explain how abortion affects “particularly low-income and often black mothers” and how lack of access to abortion “often robs them of the ability to continue their education to later participate in the labor market. work”.

For me, it was breathtaking. I thought I had heard her wrong. Did Yellen explain how good abortion is for the American workforce? But when questioned, Yellen doubled down on what I believe to be a callous and inhuman reason to end the lives of innocent people.

At that time, I felt compelled to speak up and speak on behalf of people like my mother. There are voices today that would tell you that our lives were hopeless. That a life like the one we had as a family was not a life worth living, and that the United States would be better off if people like us didn’t exist at all.

We live in a world where words are too often disconnected from the lived experiences of many Americans. Yellen’s cold, robotic reference to the question of life is just the latest example.

If abortion is our first and “best” response to ensuring that low-income women and families can prosper economically, the United States has reached one of the darkest times in its history. The assertion is simply false and echoes the blatant arguments made at the beginning of the 20th century by Margaret Sanger in favor of the eugenics movement.

But there is a better way. The American dream is one of hope and opportunity. I know it because I lived it. In America, the son of a black single mother can go from poverty to the US Senate in a lifetime. If we want to talk about the economic stability of our country, let’s talk about what we can do to ensure that single mothers and their children have access to that same American dream.

When it comes to our economic challenges, we need to have a thorough discussion about what policies are actually working. In 2017, I was one of the architects of the reform of the personal section of the tax code. As part of these reforms, we have almost doubled the standard deduction for single parents from $9,300 to $18,000. These changes reduced federal taxes for single mothers by 70%. They led the average American household to keep up to $4,000 more of their hard-earned cash.

I also worked bipartisanly on Opportunity Zones, where we offered incentives for the private sector to invest in some of America’s most devastated ZIP codes. Through this work, the private sector invested $29 billion in the first full year of the program. These are the types of investments that lead to increased wages, reduced unemployment and reduced poverty in these neighborhoods.

Now, I’m working with my colleagues to improve the Child Care and Development Block Grant program so that more parents can work and care for the most important people in their lives: their children. These are the kinds of programs that uplift all Americans, including and especially women and women of color, and give hope that a better future is within their reach.

If we want to have tough conversations about what will improve outcomes for our nation’s poorest communities, I welcome those conversations because I believe America is the solution, not the problem. When it comes to our economic challenges, abortion is not the answer. And I will debate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, solutions that actually work.