- An Alaskan Republican was reprimanded by his peers for questioning whether deadly child abuse benefits society.
- At a hearing this week, Rep. David Eastman asked a witness whether dead children save taxpayers’ money.
- Eastman said he mocked pro-choice advocates.
It was an argument, Alaska Republican Rep. David Eastman said Monday, that he claimed to have heard “occasionally” that when a child is killed by an abuser, “it’s obviously not good for the child, but it is actually an advantage to society because there is no need for government services and so forth for the entire course of that child’s remaining time.
Eastman’s remarks, apparently made in a clumsy attempt to criticize legal abortion rights, left the room horrified, as they did during a child abuse hearing.
Eastman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. But in a text message to The Washington Post, he said his comments this week were intended to mock pro-choice advocates, writing that “as pro-life legislators, we hear regularly that there is an economic benefit to the society when unwanted children are aborted. “
The hearing was a presentation by the Alaska Children’s Trust on preventing adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs (such as abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or domestic violence). It had a section explaining the costs of negative childhood experiences and how to prevent them through trauma-informed practices.
“It had zero-zero to do to support and say abortion is a way to prevent ACEs, save money or anything like that,” ACT director Trevor Storrs told Alaska Public Media. “Abortion wasn’t even on the table.” ACT has no position on abortion, according to Alaska Public Media.
On Wednesday, each of his peers agreed to convict him and voted 35-to-1 to censure him, according to Alaska Public Media. “He has brought great disgrace upon this house. It’s up to all of us to do something. We cannot allow such cruel, untenable language not to be denounced,” Democratic State Assemblyman Andrew Gray said, the outlet reported.
The only dissenter was Eastman himself.
It’s far from the first time the legislature has been controversial. It’s not even the first time he’s been formally reprimanded by his peers.
Eastman, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, was also reprimanded shortly after his first election in 2017 for claiming — without any evidence — that the largely Indigenous residents of Alaska’s remote village were “glad to be pregnant so they can.” abortion because it’s a free trip to Anchorage,” he said.
In fact, as Alaska journalist Nathaniel Herz reported for Politico this week, Eastman has a well-deserved reputation as a far-right arsonist who makes no apologies for attending protests on Jan. 6, 2021 aimed at overturning the 2020 election. He said he went to the US Capitol before the storm.
Eastman has made enemies within his own party – all of whom have voted to censure him for his child molestation remarks – and recently overcame a legal effort to keep him from being accused of his membership of the Oath Keepers, an extremist to serve in the state legislature paramilitary group whose leader was convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in the pro-Trump insurgency.
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