JUNEAU – Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman sparked outrage online after asking whether there could be economic benefits from the death of abused children. Eastman asked a series of questions during a MondayHouse Judiciary Committee hearing on adverse childhood experiences — such as physical and sexual abuse on children or growing up in a household marred by domestic violence — and how they can negatively affect a person throughout their lives.
As part of the presentation, documents given to legislators estimated that when child abuse is fatal, it could cost the family and broader society $1.5 million in terms of trauma and what the child could potentially have earned over their lifetime.
Eastman said that he had heard an argument, on occasion, that when child abuse is fatal, it could economically benefit a society. “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,” he said.
“Can you say that again? Did you say, ‘a benefit for society?’” asked Trevor Storrs, president and CEO of the Alaska Children’s Trust, in response. He said the loss of a child is “unmeasurable” to a family.
Eastman replied: “I’m talking dollars.”