Taking Away 'Right to Choose' May Consign Women to 'A Life of Poverty'

By Susan Jones | September 16, 2013 | 11:05 AM EDT

Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors hold a panel discussion on 'Reaching Economic Justice" at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 12. From left: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Madison, Wis., Mayor Paul Soglin, and Tacoma, Wash., Mayor Marilyn Strickland, and Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - At a mayors' forum on economic justice last week, the mayor of Tacoma, Washington suggested that abortion is an antidote to poverty:

"Young women who have children who are not married are more likely to end up in poverty, and so are their children," said Mayor Marian Strickland (D). "When you take away a woman's right to choose, you may actually consign her to a life of poverty with her children or her unborn children."

Mayor Strickland said it's important to "help people become empowered," and she made the point that mayors can set policies at the local level to encourage economic development.

She mentioned the debate over paid sick leave. She said labor unions are now recruiting members who don't belong to unions -- "because they understand that as union membership goes down every year, the middle class suffers in America. So we have to make sure there is a middle class that is strong and that is vibrant."

And she said businesses must understand that they need consumers with buying power to be successful.

"We all do better, when we all do better. And we made great gains as a country as far as civil rights. But there's a lot of work to do," Strickland said.

She noted that the rates of unemployment, incarceration and educational achievement are all disproportionately higher for people of color:

"So we know good and well that we still have a major hangover from the institution of slavery and other decisions that we've made."

The event was sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Birmingham, Alabama to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.