Experts testified before Alaska lawmakers Monday about the widespread, long-term harm child abuse has on the state — to the economy, to the workforce and to taxpayers when traumatized children and the adults they grow up to be rely on government services. But, in questioning one of those experts, state Rep. David Eastman (R) zeroed in on a possible “benefit.”
“How would you respond to the argument that I have heard on occasion where, um, in the case where child abuse is fatal, obviously it’s not good for the child, but it’s actually a benefit to society because there aren’t needs for government services and whatnot over the whole course of that child’s life?” Eastman said.
In the days since the committee meeting, Eastman’s remarks have caused an uproar. His colleagues called them “despicable,” “atrocious” and “indefensible.”
On Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives voted 35-1 to censure him. Rep. Andrew Gray (D), in introducing his censure motion, said Eastman had brought “great shame on this House.”
The only lawmaker who voted against the motion was Eastman, who was also censured in 2017 for saying that some Alaskans try to get pregnant “so that they can get a free trip to the city” to get an abortion.