Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., argued Thursday that access to abortion should be treated as an economic issue because policies that force women to have children also force them to work so they can afford to raise those children, which she said was a form of economic conscription.
“Abortion is an economic issue,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a House hearing called by Democrats to discuss restrictions on abortion.
“Forcing poor and working-class people to give birth against their will, against their consent, against their ability to provide for themselves or a child, is a profound economic issue and it’s certainly a way to keep a workforce basically conscripted to large-scale employers and to employers to work more against their will, to take second and third jobs against their desire and their own autonomy,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez was responding to comments from Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan., who criticized Democrats for focusing on abortion instead of economic issues like inflation and energy policy.
She said it’s “disappointing” to hear that point of view from someone who has “never had to contend” with bearing a child, and said abortion is a “profound and central economic and class issue.”
Ocasio-Cortez also replied to another Republican lawmaker who sparred with a Democratic witness when he asked whether biological men can get pregnant. The witness, a doctor who is director of trans care for Planned Parenthood, said men “can have pregnancies, especially trans men.”
Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., argued back that “men cannot get pregnant,” and asked why Democrats would call up a director of trans care to the hearing.
Ocasio-Cortez accused Clyde of dismissing the needs of trans people.
“The same folks who… told us that COVID’s just a flu, that climate change isn’t real, that January 6 was nothing but a tourist visit… are now trying to tell us that transgender people are not real,” she said. “And I would say that their claim is probably just as legitimate as all their others, which is to say not very much at all.”