Alaska Republican Argues Child Abuse Deaths Can Be A ‘Benefit to Society’

Republican Rep. David Eastman is now facing backlash online after commenting on whether the death of abused children would be economically beneficial, Newsweek reported.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on adverse childhood experiences, which includes physical and sexual abuse of children and/or living in a household where they witness domestic violence, it was discussed how these events can permanently impact a person’s life.

“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.

When asked if he was saying that child abuse deaths could “benefit” society, Eastman replied: “I’m talking dollars.” He later continued, saying, “It can be argued, periodically, that it’s actually a cost savings, because that child is not going to need any of those government services that they might otherwise be entitled to receive and need based on growing up in this type of environment.”

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Andrew Gray, who has worked as a prosecutor on child abuse cases, referred to Eastman’s line of questioning as “disturbing.” He also noted that he and his spouse had adopted a child who had faced abuse from their biological parents, and felt that Eastman had implied that abused children were better off dead. ”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,” Gray said.

Other Republican Representatives came to the defense of Eastman’s comments. Rep. Sarah Vance, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, praised his “thought process,” claiming his views could be profitable.

“I wished that he asked questions with a little bit more sensitivity to the listeners and how they’re perceived,” Vance explained. “But he’s there on his own accord and only represents himself.”

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