I have blogged about this issue before. I have made it the subject of countless tweets. In bars and at Christmas parties I have shouted till I was blue in the face trying to explain it. I have even written a play—actually, two plays—in an attempt to draw out the seemingly latent connection between the liberal obsession with genitals—gay marriage, abortion, and so on—and their view of economic prosperity. Sooner or later my work is going to start taking a toll on my health and sanity. Thank goodness our paper of record is here to come to the rescue and spell it out plainly.
There is something grimly amusing about watching someone explain how essential killing babies is to "the economy." Bryce Covert thinks that we are all members of a species called Homo economicus. For her the default state of human activity is contribution to the economy. A "bill in 2009 that required women to be informed that they could look at ultrasounds of their fetuses" is an obscene burden that has the potential to interfere marginally with abortion, thus hindering the increase of GDP. A child is a sort of nonproductive snaillike creature that, if allowed to survive in the womb of a poor woman, "would interfere with education or work." "Pregnancies" of the "unintended" variety are a sort of condition or disease now reaching epidemic proportions as they "become increasingly concentrated among low-income women, who by 2011 were more than five times as likely to experience one as those with greater means."
Preventing even one woman from getting a single abortion is a costly intervention with potentially disastrous long-term consequences because "economics reverberates throughout women’s lives when they can’t get the abortions they need." Those "who can get the abortions they seek, however, are more likely to follow through on their employment or educational plans," the proper ends toward which they are oriented by nature. Who knows what grim charts, what melancholy extrapolations and data sets, what unnerving figures could be generated showing the reduction in productivity that results from even a single thwarted instance of infanticide as it spreads throughout the larger economy? It is thus, as Covert concludes, "smart economics and smart politics to take a firm line on reproductive rights."
I for one welcome her honesty. It is difficult, of course, to be optimistic about the outcome of a contest between defenseless infants and 17.95 trillion in raw economic output. But at least we know what's at stake.