Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Grace Abels
By Grace Abels November 13, 2023

Instagram post inaccurately quotes House Speaker Mike Johnson on workers and abortion

If Your Time is short

  • There is no evidence Speaker Mike Johnson said the quote that is attributed to him in this post. 

  • The quote is an inaccurate paraphrase of comments he made about the effect abortion access has had on the economy and the estimated federal benefits from reducing the size of the current population. 

An Instagram post attributes a dystopian statement about mandatory childbirth to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. 

"Every woman has a duty to birth at least one able-bodied worker," Johnson is quoted as saying next to his photo and under the words "Are you KIDDING ME?"

Two liberal Instagram accounts shared the Nov. 12 post. Similar posts, on X, were shared and then fact-checked in early November, but that didn’t stop the spread of this false quote.

We could find no evidence that Johnson said this. A spokesperson for Johnson told fellow fact-checkers at USA Today the quote is not real. 

(Screenshot of an Instagram Post)

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The quote is a misleading paraphrase of comments Johnson made in May 2022 about the economy and what the population’s size would be if abortion access had not been protected under Roe v. Wade. 

"Roe v. Wade gave constitutional cover to the elective killing of unborn children in America," Johnson said May 11, 2022, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.  

The hearing took place days after a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn federal abortion protections was leaked to the press.

During the hearing, Johnson expressed his support for this decision, then tried to illustrate what life would have been like had the Roe v. Wade precedent been different. 

"My high school class should have been almost twice as large as it was," he said. "Your classmates were not allowed to be born." 

Johnson also referred to how the economy could have changed if the population had been larger: 

"We're all struggling here to cover the bases of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and all the rest," he said. "If we had all those able-bodied workers in the economy, we wouldn't be going upside down and toppling over like this."

On Oct. 25, the day Johnson won the speaker election, President Joe Biden’s campaign and House Democrats circulated clips of Johnson’s comments on X, formerly Twitter.

Although Johnson did refer to able-bodied workers when discussing abortions, there is no evidence he said, "Every woman has a duty to birth at least one able-bodied worker." 

We rate this claim False.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Grace Abels

Instagram post inaccurately quotes House Speaker Mike Johnson on workers and abortion

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up