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A Republican Alaskan lawmaker made an outrageous claim that child abuse deaths are ‘cost saving’ to the state because they will not need to use government services. 

David Eastman, 41, who represents the City of Wasilla, asked a controversial question at the House Judiciary Committee meeting on Monday, where representatives joined Alaska Children’s Trust CEO Trevor Storrs to discuss childhood trauma costs. 

The Trust showcased how abuse victims – whether it be physical, sexual, or emotional – are negatively impacted throughout their whole lives and in turn, could use more government resources, such as Medicaid. 

It estimated that the lifetime costs per victims – who have a higher probability of having health concerns such as being obese or being smokers – was $240,000, including $167,000 of productivity losses. It is also estimated that it will cost the government $1.5million per fatal victim in their lifetime. 

On Monday, Eastman, who has ties to far-right group the Oath Keepers and attended the January 6 rally, asked Storrs about the argument he had heard that fatal child abuse is actually an economic benefit. 

‘How would you respond to that I’ve heard on occasion in the case where child abuse is fatal – obviously, it’s not good for the child – but it’s a benefit to society because there aren’t needs for government services and whatnot over the whole course of that child’s life.’ 

Republican David Eastman, 41, who represents Wasilla, asked the Alaskan Child

Republican David Eastman, 41, who represents Wasilla, asked the Alaska Children’s Trust to respond to claims that fatal child abuse is a ‘benefit to society because there aren’t needs for government services,’ which has since caused backlash 

Storrs was appalled, responding: ‘Can you say that again? Did you say it was a benefit for society?’ 

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The lawmaker replied: ‘Talking dollars. Now you’ve got $1.5million price tag here for victims of fatal child abuse. It gets argued periodically that it is actually a costs saving because that child isn’t going to need any of those government services that they might otherwise be entitled to receive and need growing up in this type of environment.’ 

Storrs said he wasn’t ‘even sure how to answer that’ as he does not subscribe to the analogy of ‘if you hit somebody, always back up, because it’s cheaper to insurance.’ 

‘I’m not even sure how to answer that there’s a costs saving to a death of a child. The impact that that has on a family and us as a society when a child is a loss, especially to child abuse [and] neglect is unmeasurable. It’s hugely tragic.’ 

Anchorage Representative Cliff Groh, who is a Democrat, was visibly taken aback and said he was ‘disturbed’ by Eastman’s line of questioning. 

‘When I used to prosecute child abuse cases, it was very sad and terrible,’ the lawmaker said. 

Another Anchorage Democrat, Andrew Gray, later recounted how he and his husband adopted a child from the foster care system and accused Eastman of saying his child, who comes from an abusive background, was better off dead. 

He asked the Trust's CEO Trevor Storrs to break down the $1.5million lifetime cost per fatal victim and asked if it was actually an economic benefit as a living victim only costs the state $240,000 over a lifetime

He asked the Trust’s CEO Trevor Storrs to break down the $1.5million lifetime cost per fatal victim and asked if it was actually an economic benefit as a living victim only costs the state $240,000 over a lifetime 

His colleague Andrew Gray (both pictured left) said he had an 'intense reaction' to Eastman's questions as his adopted daughter had experienced abuse. 'What I heard - and it may not have been intended - but what I heard was that there would be a costs saving if a child with a high ACEs score didn't survive,' Gray said

His colleague Andrew Gray (both pictured left) said he had an ‘intense reaction’ to Eastman’s questions as his adopted daughter had experienced abuse. ‘What I heard – and it may not have been intended – but what I heard was that there would be a costs saving if a child with a high ACEs score didn’t survive,’ Gray said 

‘I had an intense reaction to something that was said earlier. I adopted my child through the foster care system [and] my child came with a very high ACEs [adverse childhood experiences] score. That definitely meant that we had resources that needed to be expended to help my child,’ he said. 

‘What I heard – and it may not have been intended – but what I heard was that there would be a costs saving if a child with a high ACEs score didn’t survive. And I would just say for me personally, my child is the greatest joy I’ve ever had — that there is no price tag on that,’ he emotionally said. 

Although Eastman did not directly respond to Gray’s story, the Republican did ask Storrs if the money invested would better benefit society through prevention, which Storrs agreed it would. 

Republican Sarah Vine, who chairs the committee, defended Eastman to the Anchorage Daily News, saying he was at the meeting ‘at my invitation.’ 

Eastman has been alienated from every caucus due to his no-compromise approach, according to the Daily News. 

‘I wished that he asked questions with a little bit more sensitivity to the listeners and how they’re perceived, and I can have that conversation,’ Vance told the Daily News. ‘But he’s there on his own accord and only represents himself.’ 

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Vance also argued she believes Eastman was making a pro-life statement as abortion opponents say the medical procedure is ‘child abuse.’ 

Eastman has ties to far-right group the Oath Keepers and attended the January 6 rally (pictured far left). He did not breach the Capitol

Eastman has ties to far-right group the Oath Keepers and attended the January 6 rally (pictured far left). He did not breach the Capitol 

‘One of the arguments for abortion has been that it’s better to terminate that child’s life before they become a burden to society,’ she said. 

Eastman, himself, told the Daily News: ‘I was pleased to hear ACT advocating against child abuse, but a child’s value comes not from future productivity, but from the fact that every child is made in the image of God.’ 

Storrs said he would give the Republican lawmaker the benefit of the doubt and that his questions were asked to better understand the topic, he told the Daily News. 

This is not the first controversy Eastman has faced in his short career as a representative – he joined the state House in 2017. 

The lawmaker recently battled a court case against one of his constituents who claimed his connections to the Oath Keepers made him ineligible for office. A judge ruled in Eastman’s favor. 

Eastman also attended the January 6 rally, holding an Alaska for Trump flag and was charged under the disloyalty clause in the Alaskan Constitution. 

The loyal Trump supporter did not breach the Capitol, but did attend the rally. His group, the Oath Keepers, has seen plenty of members charged and convicted of seditious conspiracy for their violent plot to overthrow the government. 

Eastman has not apologized for his involvement on January 6 and was not convicted of disloyal conduct.  

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