An Alaska lawmaker is at the center of controversy after placing an anti-abortion message into a state House resolution that is aimed at drawing attention to the problems of child abuse and sexual assault in the state. Republican Representative David Eastman of Wasilla tacked on the amendment referring to abortion as “the ultimate form of child abuse.” He said he felt that discussing child abuse without bringing up abortion would be wrong.
A divided House Rules Committee approved the amendment, but critics feel the resolution is the wrong place to stir up a debate over abortion. The state is dealing with a high rate of sexual assault, and the resolution, which was intended to protect women and children, was not controversial before the amendment was added.
Eastman concedes that if the resolution ends up on the House floor, his language could well be removed, but he maintains that abortion is a serious issue that needs to be discussed. In particular, he has a problem with Medicaid covering abortion because he says that some people in the state are getting pregnant or carrying their baby past the state’s abortion cutoff date “so that they can have a free trip to Seattle.” Alaska’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state is required to fund abortions that are medically necessary for those who can’t afford it.
Controversy over the amendment
These comments drew ire from Representative Dean Westlake, who represents low-income rural villages with people who depend on health subsidies. This area is largely made up of Alaska Natives, and he took exception to the implication that such people would “barter an unborn child’s life for a trip somewhere.”
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii Spokeswoman Katie Rogers said that the amendment aimed to shame women who get abortions and called it an insult to those who have survived sexual assault. While some people, like sexual assault victims, have reason to take issue with his comments, it’s likely that Rogers was more concerned about the bottom line, as Planned Parenthood profits handsomely from abortions in general and from harvesting the organs of babies during the procedure.
One can certainly hope it was not Eastman’s aim to cause additional suffering for people who have been sexually assaulted in a measure intended to protect such people. However, the procedures used on unborn babies during abortions that are performed by Ms. Rogers’ employer would certainly be considered child abuse and murder if they were inflicted on babies after birth.
For example, some abortion procedures entail using a strong vacuum to suck an unborn baby’s body from the womb, while others use a sharp clamp to dismember the unborn child and pull it out of the womb piece by piece. In late-term abortions, a drug that causes cardiac arrest is injected into the unborn baby, whose dead body is then expelled by inducing labor.
This abuse can also extend to the mother. Young girls and even older women are often pressured to get an abortion, whether it’s by their partner, parent or an abuser. It’s particularly common among human trafficking victims, where 55 percent have had at least one abortion. More than half of these women said they were ordered to get the abortion by their traffickers and were given no choice in the matter. Some women have also endured physical abuse at the hands of their partner for refusing to get an abortion.
While it’s not hard to imagine what point Eastman might have been trying to make, the amendment isn’t likely to get off the ground. Even if the bill does manage to clear the legislature, resolutions do not establish any laws or authorize any related spending. Instead, they are intended to draw attention to an important issue, which is something that Eastman has apparently already accomplished given the media attention this amendment has been receiving.