The Fed's Abortion: The Unborn's Dying Wish

Janet Yellen, the nation's former chief inflationist, now claims that impoverished women need easy access to abortion because inflation could put them in jeopardy.

Former Fed chair Janet Yellen extolled the merits of high abortion rates among impoverished women, since they allow them to have higher labor force participation rates, in a moment that would have made progressive eugenicist Margaret Sanger pleased. Yellen's argument was straightforward, paraphrasing Margaret Sanger, the conceptual architect of the contemporary abortion industry: it is painful for parents to put their children into poverty; therefore, it is humanitarian to incentivize abortion among the poor.

Before a CNBC audience, California representative and chair of the Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus Katie Porter expressed a similar sentiment, saying that "things like inflation can happen" as justification for the Democrats' now-failed attempt to enshrine unrestricted abortion access in federal law.

The Fed's incapacity and refusal to define its involvement in lowering impoverished people's purchasing power is frustrating, but not surprising. Porter's remarks raise the issue, "Does the necessity for abortions among the poor go away if inflation falls to zero?"

While no sane person should expect either of these politicians to respond, their remarks accidentally illustrate an important causal link in human behavior. That is, in a modern, prosperous culture, households whose purchasing power is damaged by money supply expansion are less likely to have children, all else being equal.

The term "modern prosperous society" is based on Gary Becker and Robert Barro's argument that real net expenses of raising children lower total fertility in families. While all human action is dependent on individual subjective values, it's safe to assume that a steady loss of real income and wealth is one of the data points that people use to form their choices. Because the Fed's operations change the structure of pricing, income, and wealth, it's possible that these changes will influence fertility decisions. With that said, one may simply consider Richard Cantillon's assertion that the impoverished in the United States are among those disadvantaged by money supply increases. Because of their decreasing purchasing capacity, these families are more likely to have fewer children than they would otherwise. This is due to the fact that each childbirth results in a net loss of real wealth. In a mature economy, the reasons for this conclusion are straightforward. Child labor and panhandling are unnecessary in most wealthy countries since they have benefited from the worldwide division of labor. This has also had the beneficial consequence of decreasing a family's perceived need to supply children to traffickers, which is tragically still a problem in poor countries.

What Becker and Barro overlook is the possibility that both wealthy and poor countries will allow fiat central banking. This omission ignores the reality of a hurt class that loses purchasing power over time as a result of inflationary policies. Due of their financial difficulty, Yellen and Porter have identified such households as having a need for abortion access.

Jörg Guido Hülsmann's attack on fiat currency implies the annihilation of human life (or potential life, for some) as a result of central banking. His conclusion is that such regimes are socially damaging and tend to exacerbate household financial fragility. Because fiat inflation is regarded as a "juggernaut of social, economic, cultural, and spiritual ruin," this fragility can be especially crushing for the poorest classes. It turns out that a portion of this social disintegration could be the denial of the society shared by mother, father, and the yet-to-be-seen (or, as some might say, invisible) child.

Even if one gives the pro-choice/pro-abortion side the benefit of the doubt by admitting that they don't want ANY abortions to happen and would prefer that all pregnancies be planned pregnancies, obviating the necessity for abortion, the logic that links inflationism and abortionism remains valid. It is also possible to argue that inflation is beneficial to the contraception business as a whole. While such a link may appear insignificant, Saifedean Ammous has stated that inflation is a way to reduce the cost of risky financial market behavior. I'm only implying that inflation could lead to moral hazard in sexual activity.

If Yellen and Porter's joint goal is to increase female labor force participation and engage women in what Josef Pieper called "proletarianization," where "total work" is the norm, then the inflation-abortion link is a surefire way to do it. Senator Bob Menendez challenged Yellen's rationale, claiming that increased—and presumably government funded—abortion access leads to better educational and economic outcomes for children born later in a woman's life. Only the most diehard abortionist would miss the irony.

Setting aside the existing moral arguments for or against abortion, a better understanding of the link between increases in the money supply and the increased likelihood of abortions among the poor could help to advance the Austro-libertarian debate on the morality of abortion. If one of the countless societal effects of the Fed's currency debasement is an increased risk of abortion among the poor, then the would-be-born may rejoice at the central bank's abortion.

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