Politics

This Lawmaker Just Accused Women of Getting Late Abortions for the Perks

A conservative lawmaker in Alaska said that women in his state are "glad" to get pregnant so they can get a "free trip" for a publicly funded abortion.

State Rep. David Eastman made the comments in an interview with Alaska Pubic Radio on Wednesday. 

“We’ve created an incentive structure where people are now incented to carry their pregnancy longer than they would otherwise and then take part in that when they wouldn’t otherwise be doing it,” he said. 

"In this Jan. 17, 2017, photo Alaska state Rep. David Eastman applauds in the House chamber in Juneau, Alaska."

The representative for Wasila didn't provide any specific examples but said he could "think of a case" where a woman was "glad" to get an abortion for a trip to Seattle. 

“I can think of a case that was brought to our attention earlier this session where you had a family who was very glad to hear that their abortion had gone beyond a certain point, because they were going to be heading to Seattle,” he said. 

Second trimester abortion is not available in Alaska, but the state's Medicaid program will pay for eligible women to travel to Washington state to get one. 

nurse-holding-stethoscope

Eastman introduced an amendment to a resolution that was approved on Monday by the state's House Rules Committee that refers to abortion as a form of "child abuse," according to the Associated Press. The amendment was tacked onto a resolution to declare April 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The resolution is now under consideration by the House. 

Eastman also told Alaska Public Radio that women in villages who can still get a first-trimester abortion in are "glad to be pregnant" so they can visit Anchorage. 

“You have individuals who are in villages and are glad to be pregnant, so that they can have an abortion because there’s a free trip to Anchorage involved,” Eastman said. 

The reality is that travel is a significant barrier for women seeking an abortion. 

A study of women in Texas published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January found that abortion rates are cut in half when women have to travel more than 100 miles for abortion services, and because of closing abortion clinics in states across the country, women are increasingly forced to make these choices about a longer journey. 

“There may be more women who, when they can’t get to a clinic, are turning to self-induced abortion,” Rachel Jones, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute told the New Scientist in January. 

RELATED: An Oklahoma Lawmaker Used a Controversial Word to Describe Pregnant Women