Five GOP lawmakers in the Alaska State House, some of whom claim to be pro-life, joined Democrats to kill an amendment to the state budget that sought to prohibit Alaska from using state funds to underwrite abortions.

Proposed on April 3 by Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) the amendment would have specifically barred the state from using State Medicaid funds to pay for the killing of unborn babies.

GOP Representatives Jesse Sumner (Wasilla), Dan Saddler (Eagle River), Mike Prax (North Pole), Justin Ruffridge (Soldotna) and Louise Stutes (Kodiak) all voted with Democrats to table and effectively kill the amendment. The final vote was 23-17.

The Watchman reached out to each of the GOP lawmakers who voted against the pro-life amendment. Apart from legislative aid Barbara Haney, who works for Rep. Prax, none of the other offices responded.

Rep. David Eastman

In explaining Prax’s vote against the amendment, Haney said the proposal would likely have been deleted from the budget by the Democratic controlled State Senate. Once the pro-life wording was struck, and the budget sent back to the House, Haney claimed Eastman would have used that as rationale to vote against the final budget. That would force the budget bill to go into Conference Committee where many other items could be changed, including the PFD allotment, she said. Haney described Eastman’s amendment as ineffective “gamesmanship,” which would not save any unborn lives.

Eastman has a different take, and believes the amendment provides both the “legal and political support” for Gov. Mike Dunleavy to finally end state funded abortions. Last year, the state paid for at least 546 abortions, not including those who were flown out of state to procure late-term abortions in Lower-48 facilities.

While the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled that the state must spend part of its Medicaid funds to underwrite abortions, the Legislature has constitutional authority over the purse strings. Eastman’s amendment would have prohibited the state from transferring any money into the Medicaid account reserved for abortions, thereby making it impossible to comply with the Supreme Courts’ opinion.

Eastman noted that his amendment would have given Gov. Mike Dunleavy “an actual valid message from the Legislature saying, ‘We don’t want you to spend this money.’”

In introducing the proposal on the House floor, Eastman was not given an opportunity to explain or discuss it, prior to the vote.

Rep. CJ McCormick, a Planned Parenthood endorsed Democrat from Bethel, immediately challenged Eastman’s amendment and moved to table it with the backing of five Republicans.

“They did not want to be on record taking a position,” he said, of GOP lawmakers who voted to table the amendment. “They just tried to kill it outright without even allowing me the opportunity to explain it.”

Eastman expressed frustration with GOP lawmakers who claim to be pro-life, but then fail to enact legislation with any real teeth.

As of April 6, the House was continuing to debate and amend its version of the state budget.


Joining McCormick to kill Eastman’s amendment were Representatives Jennie Armstrong (D-Anchorage), Ashley Carrick (D-Anchorage), Maxine Dibert (D-Fairbanks), Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), Neal Foster (D-Nome), Alyse Galvin D-Anchorage), Andrew Gray (D-Anchorage), Cliff Groh (D-Anchorage), Sara Hannan (D-Juneau), Rebecca Himschoot (NA-Sitka), Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Donna Mears (D-Anchorage), Genevieve Mina (D-Anchorage), Dan Ortiz (NA-Ketchikan), Mike Prax (R-North Pole), Justin Ruffridge (R-Soldotna), Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River), Calvin Schrage (NA-Anchorage), Andi Story (D-Juneau), Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) and Jesse Sumner (R-Wasilla).

Those voting for the amendment, and against McCormick’s motion to table it, were Representatives Jamie Allard, Ben Carpenter, Julie Coulombe (R-Anchorage), Mike Cronk (R-Tok), David Eastman (R-Wasilla), Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage), DeLena Johnson (R-Palmer), Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake), Tom McKay (R-Anchorage), Josiah Patkotak (NA-Barrow), George Rauscher (R-Sutton), Laddie Shaw (R-Anchorage), Will Stapp (R-Fairbanks), Cathy Tilton (R-Wasilla), Frank Tomaszewski (R-Fairbanks, Sarah Vance (R-Homer) and Stanley Wright (R-Anchorage).

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

5 Alaska House Republicans oppose amendment to stop state-funded abortions

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Ruth Ewig says:

    We know and trust Representative Mike Prax. He holds weekly meetings with us to update us on what is going on in Juneau. There seems to be lots of unethical manipulations for selfish legislators to get their way. We are as pro life as is possible having been C0-chairs of the Interior movement for 12 years. All but 3 senators can be trusted to have integrity and do the right thing. Mike Prax has a feel for what is going on down there.
    Representative Eastman is a smart guy but makes leaps without careful wording and thought. If he has an idea, he should use his colleagues as a sounding board first and mull over what is to be accomplished in the long run. There are other good pro-life legislators down there. My mother-in-law who is Urban Rahoi’s sister said to read between the lines. Their father served many in years in the Michigan legislature and had lots of advice.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Correction: Only 3 senators in the current legislature can be trusted to do the right thing. The house members are working around that knowledge.

  • brandon says:


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Hard to imagine that Medicaid would eventually be the medical “insurance” for everyone and used for anything. Researching I found that Lydon B Johnson was the president that got Medicare and Medicaid passed. Johnson is also the one that said that he who controls the weather can control the world. I wonder why he was so keen on getting Medicare and Medicaid passed? Nothing to do with following a narrative I am sure!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I do not understand how the Sumners, who have been in the valley for years and their business(es) being supported by valley folks, can feel comfortable turning against the same people who have helped them build their business(es) by voting against what Sumner’s district supports. Sumner really needs to resign from this position as an elected official because I am pretty sure he was selected…not elected.

  • Tom J says:

    Uh, maybe they are Republicans who respect the choices of individual Alaskans? May they don’t like government overreach?

    • Tamra Nygaard says:

      Not sure how it is over reach to deny funding for murder. If you want an abortion, go get one, but I’m not going to pay for it, thank you.

    • Now We Are Two says:

      How is it government “overreach” to stop spending limited state $ on abortions?? What’s next, it’s government “overreach” to cut any budget, ever? Government”overreach” has ever been better exemplified better than than by spending our $ on women to kill their own children.

    • Dee Cee says:

      Children in the womb are individuals too…

  • Roz says:

    it’s obvious that they do not believe God exists.

    • Lucinda says:

      Thus there is some hope. Religion is poison I’m sorry to say. And thanks again Joel for letting me say something like that on this pro- Christian site. Allowing me here, probably against your core, speaks well of your integrity, which to me, is everything.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Leigh Dundas: “We Are Starting to Win!!!”

    • Lucinda says:

      Hey Friend. Cuz I value your insight and the opportunity to become more educated, I followed the link you provided,!but got stuck on this : “Qanon, Great Awakening, Deep State, Military Tribunals, Trump, Clam Before the Storm, CIA, DOJ, FBI, Blessed To Teach, Q anon, Qanon Today,, Qanon Update,, Shadow Government, WearetheNews, Latest Qanon, Qanon Today, Qanon Posts”

      Not sure where to go.

      I do appreciate the warning to my fellow crustaceans. I’ll bet that’s not what was meant though. Probly a typo, though with the supernatural crowd it’s hard to tell. You guys hold a hand of five jokers. Hard to compete.

  • John J. Otness says:

    So according to Haney if you see a drowning man [baby being murdered] and you think saving is impossible you just let them drown. ya ok…

  • Therese J. Syren says:

    Like Pontius Pilate, the GOP lawmakers caved to the Planned Parenthood cries of “Crucify Them!” Their Barabas is the lame excuse that Senate Dems. would remove the amendment anyway, and delay passing the budget. So passing a budget – the means – is sacrificed to the goal – saving babies from a brutal murder. How many pro-life amendments have Prax et al introduced? None? Too busy washing their hands?

  • P J says:

    Planned Parenthood is not about planning parenthood. Abortion is their #1 business, not how to plan life to have a child. How they can sleep at night knowing that these tiny humans Feel Pain, they try to escape the tools used to puncture their brains and rip limbs off. They sense danger. Now PP is becoming very active in the LGBTIQA movement as that is the next cash cow. Big money there with lifetime users of hormones etc to maintain their features.
    They are in Our schools making money by lying to Our Children by stating as facts things proven different in the scientific community. The research they don’t want to see as they know it is the truth. I sometimes think that these are the same people who tortured small animals as children. Pulled the wings off of flys, taking Joy in seeing others suffer.
    PP should only be receiving money from people who believe in them. If abortion is so important to PP let their believers fund it.

  • Steve Peterson says:

    I believe that they so hate Eastman, they will counter, on principle, anything he proposes.
    Always vote to affirm life whether you think it will pass or not.

    • Richard K CORBeil says:

      I disagree. They voted to fund abortion with state money. Their vote would be the same regardless of who wrote and/or supported it.

    • Lucinda says:

      Steve, disliking Opie Eastman is entirely appropriate.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    What a conversation!
    ‘Susan Swift from the Right to Life League joins Mike Adams for powerful dismantling of the ABORTION CARTELS’