Editor’s note: On April 3, Alaska House Majority Leader Dan Saddler (R-Eagle River) joined four other House Republicans and all House Democrats in voting against a pro-life amendment from Rep. David Eastman to the state budget. Eastman’s amendment aimed to remove all funding for abortion from the Alaska Medicaid program. Read that story here. The Watchman asked each of the five Republicans who voted against this amendment to provide a rationale. Saddler’s explanation was received after the deadline for our article, but it is published below.

Rep. Dan Saddler

The truth is, motions like Rep. Eastman’s can do nothing to actually stop state Medicaid spending for abortion. If they would truly prevent abortion, I would’ve voted against tabling, and for their passage. But they don’t.

While I thank God for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, it has as yet had no effect in Alaska, as the Alaska Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled the state may not refuse to spend Medicaid services for abortion.

I am pro-life personally, and have been a strong pro-life legislator. I have supported and donated to pro-life causes and organizations, have regularly stood in prayer with advocates for life, and have prayed on my own for an end to abortion and for the souls of babies lost to this scourge.

Over the course of my legislative service, I have voted many, many times for budget language cutting Medicaid money for abortion. Those cuts have always been reversed because the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled such cuts unconstitutional.  Even Gov. Dunleavy has failed in his effort to not fund Medicaid abortions. Such efforts lead only to costly litigation that we cannot win, but which further strains our limited state funds.

I’m concerned that these kinds of ineffective but seemingly attractive technical amendments – including one today purporting to cut money from the “mental health budget” for Medicaid services that can’t be used for abortion – do far more harm in confusing well-meaning members of the public than good in passing effective policy.

Actually, ending abortions in our state – whether paid by the Medicaid program or private funds – will require the Alaska House and Senate to pass a resolution to put a constitutional amendment before voters, and for voters to pass it. That’s where the meaningful work will be done, and that’s the kind of meaningful legislation I will support.

Again, I appreciate the chance to share the truth with you and your readers.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Rep. Saddler offers explanation for why he voted against pro-life amendment to state budget


  • Neil A DeWitt says:

    I’ll say this, with Rep. Saddler, saying this when is he coming forward with a bill of his own? We all with brains know MURDER (abortion) isn’t right. Things like abstaining, or at least waiting till your married and then you won’t need to MURDER your child! You need to be a responsible adult not the high school teenager. Think about what your doing and what the outcome of your actions are going to be!

  • Vonda Sanders says:

    I’m not paying for abortions. Guess it’s time to stop paying taxes

    • Robert Redlinger says:

      We don’t pay State taxes.

      • Dave Peck says:

        If your PFD is being reduced from the amount statutorily described you are paying a tax via a reduction in your PFD. That is a substantial tax. As long as the legislature dictates the PFD amount every year in the way of an appropriation it is a tax.

    • Lucinda says:

      I wish I could choose which government services would receive my taxes.

  • Tamra Nygaard says:

    So, is he waiting for someone else to bring this legislation to the table? Get on, Mr. Saddler. Otherwise, this response is just blowing smoke.

  • Kathy L. says:

    NO ONE talks about ADOPTION! WHY??? OK, we’ve all made wrong choices in life. If you are not ready to parent a child, don’t have the finances or maturity to handle a baby, why not adopt. I’m writing from personal experience so I know what its like. In less than 1 year, the birth mom can be back to her pursuits in life. ONE year. In the meantime, she can choose the adoptive parents and meet them in person to ensure they are the ‘right’ people she wants to raise her child. She can arrange to have visits. She can receive photos. She can choose the name. And she has a full year (if memory serves)…to change her mind. There are plenty of resources available to help someone choosing adoption to cope and receive counseling and support during the pregnancy. Women make these split second decisions for abortion out of fear, depression, hopelessness, pressure from a parent or boyfriend or other friends. They don’t usually think it through, Later in life there are regrets. Later in life they could have had the opportunity to see that baby grow up and succeed in life. To get to know that son or daughter they were not capable of raising in their youth and inexperience. Adoption is not “giving up” or “giving away”…but a LOVING Choice to give LIFE!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I agree Kathy L. . I can think of several reasons why the brain-washed lefties do not want to carry a baby to full-term and give it up for adoption. They would be inconvenienced by a bulge and having to wear maternity clothes. They might (not necessarily) feel obligated to eat properly, not do drugs and not drink alcohol. They might give birth and catch a glimpse of a little human that they just created and want to keep it because it was part of them. They might (probably not) question their lifestyle choices that got them accidentally pregnant. I know people that were adopted out that are very thankful that their biological mothers did not abort them because they got to live life, learn, grow, and have children of their own.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    in a Constitutional Republic which has three equal branches of government, why have the Courts assumed they are above the other two branches? If the Governor is the Chief Police Officer in the state then why can’t he use his attorney general to arrest the branch that continues to break the law? The Alaskan

    Supreme Court is breaking the law, right? Who is going to arrest them, if not the top reinforcement officer in the state?
    does this lack of action affirm that the judges have declared themselves above the law? Then the courts do have more power than the Executive because they said so? The same with the legislature. Why do they have to pay the courts as Saddler stated for cases when their branch should have equal power to the other two branches. Impeaching the judges is a function of the legislative branch, correct? If so, why do the legislators have to pay court fees to impeach the judges who are actually breaking the law. If legislative money is needed, why isn’t there a fund of state money in the case of impeaching judges?
    Many questions but no clear understanding as to why the Constitution is not being followed when accountability procedures are written in the document? The Constitution was not made to be hard to understand. The question is why is it not being followed? Perhaps it would take one impeachment or so to embarass the judges and hopefully put them back in their place–answerable to We the People not the “good ‘ol boys.”

  • North to Alaska says:

    The Supreme Court of Alaska is not superior to the legislative branch. It is time you grew a pair and did your God given duty. Pass the law restricting funding and order the governor to ignore the court. End the scam of judicial supremacy.

  • David Eastman says:

    When Republicans asked their elected officials to defend the Republican pro-life position they were told “give us a majority in Congress and we will protect the lives of the unborn.” When, after decades of working toward that goal, voters gave them that majority they were told, “give us a pro-life president and we will protect the lives of the unborn.” When voters gave them Republican majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives, and the United States Senate, and elected a Pro-Life president (George W. Bush), they were told that the country wasn’t ready for such drastic change and that it was the job of pro-life Americans to change that. The truth is that many Republican elected officials never planned to upset the status quo and were simply casting about for excuses for why they shouldn’t be expected to push forward the pro-life policies they campaigned on.
    Likewise, voters in Alaska have been treated very similarly over the years.

    Give us Republican majorities in the legislature, they said. Give us a Republican governor, they said. When voters gave them both, and pro-life Sarah Palin was our governor, and my senator (pro-life Lyda Green) was president of the senate, and Republicans held majorities in both the Alaska State House and Senate, Alaskans were told that the majority of Republicans had formed a Bipartisan Working Group with Democrats in the senate and that all pro-life legislation was “off the table”. Years later, when the bipartisan working group was no more and voters had again elected Republican majorities in the house and senate and placed a pro-life governor (Sean Parnell) in the governor’s mansion, again not a single unborn child was saved. Republicans in office said that they could do nothing. It was ‘out of their hands’ because of the Alaska Supreme Court’s antipathy to the pro-life cause.

    Today, we are one of the most pro-abortion states in the union, and by far the most pro-abortion Republican state. Again, we have Republican majorities in the house and senate and a governor who is very publicly pro-life. But we are told by the very Republican elected officials who ran on being pro-life and were just elected that acting to end the taxpayer funding of abortions is “a waste of time”.

    Question: Why campaign as a “pro-life” candidate if you are convinced that there is nothing you can do about it when you are elected? Why campaign as a pro-life candidate and then blame the constitution for why you don’t vote that way in office?

    The reality is that taxpayer funding for abortion, like taxpayer funding for every other item in our state budget, has the cooperation of all three branches of state government; the legislature provides the funding for abortion, the executive branch spends it (97% of which goes to Planned Parenthood), and the courts provide the rationale for why that money should continue to be spent year, after year, after year.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      David, thank you for the history and the breakdown of how the taxpayer is paying for abortion in our state. Very true that we have been strung along for many years now. The only two reps that I know of, right off-hand, that have campaigned on pro-life and then were upholding their pro-life positions in while in legislation were Chris Kurka and you. I appreciate you being a rep for Alaska because you try to educate people on the truth of what has been going on government that is affecting Alaskans and you have been trying to bring to the table what the people want. This is so disappointing that our state is so pro-abortion. However, it is encouraging when we witness villages beginning to wake up to the manipulation that has been used against them for decades. Praying that our urban centers and outlying areas start working together to drive the demonic forces out of Alaska. Demonrat rules and laws need to be overturned. All of Alaska need to work on returning this state to the Humanity-loving People.

      • Jan says:

        Rep. Sharon Jackson was also true to her word and sponsored the personhood bill.

      • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

        Amen to all you said, Friend of humanity! David Eastman stands tall for all of us true pro lifers, down there in the Juneau cesspool.

    • Clark says:

      Republicans tipped their hands that they wanted the Dobbs decision all along. Why do you think Republicans got trounced in the last 2 elections. Why the conservatives got trounced by double digits in the 50/50 state of Wisconsin last week.

      Turns out women and fathers with wives are really pissed they had their Constitutional rights trampled by SCOTUS.

  • Independent Observer says:

    The problem as I see it, is that the people of Alaska are satisfied with the status quo. If they weren’t, things would change. They never look close enough to see that they have paid for another abortion when they see their tax bill or their pay check. If the state were to stop the impersonal method of paying bills through omnibus spending and appropriations and send each Alaskan taxpayer a bill for “Services Rendered – Abortion Services, pay to the order of Planned Parenthood.” I honestly don’t believe there is any other way to personalize this expenditure, thus gaining the attention of the Alaskan taxpayer. I’m fed up with candidates telling me they are “pro-life” and voting counter to it. The fact is unless the “prolifers” put up and stand up for the legislation, driving it all the way through both houses to the governor, making the statement along the way that nothing else gets done until the abortion funding issue is resolved, then it will forever be a talking point only. It seems that the most important issue on the table for Alaskan’s is the PFD. I know that it won’t hunt many of you, but in protest, I will not apply for the PFD until legislation is passed to end funding of abortion in Alaska.

  • David Houx says:

    No backbone here. Waitng and blaming others for his lack of action.we have the numbers use them.

  • Matthew D Johnson says:

    Empty rhetoric by Saddler. He should be ashamed of himself, and stop calling himself “pro-life.” Clearly, he couldn’t care less about the plight of the unborn.

  • Andy says:

    A technicality holding one back is just an excuse for not wanting to a job correctly.

    • Mark Regan says:

      The Alaska Supreme Court is not a “technicality.” Good for Rep. Saddler and his colleagues for not setting up another round of litigation, and good for the Alaska Watchman for giving him a place to explain this.

  • Friend of Humanity says:


  • Steve Alexander says:

    He makes it sound so sweetly intelligent and logical. Truth is that it is the opposite – stupid and illogical. Votes, all votes, have to be based on principle and not on the likelihood, or not, of the success of the proposition in the anti-American legislature we now have.

  • Bob Bird says:

    OK, so at least Saddler had to guts to reply. Give him credit. The others cower and hide and allow the request to go into the Memory Hole. It shows a tiny glimmer of spark that might later become the FIRE needed to FIGHT.
    But he gives the usual bleating-sheep excuses. It demonstrates an unwillingness to fight. Both Ewig and Eastman understand the real problem: the refusal to resist the judicial tyranny. Oh, but that will get the MEDIA angry! We will become Eastman-like pariahs! It’s just so terribly oogie!
    These prolife dolts think that we have to OBEY THE COURTS. No, you have to obey the CONSTITUTION, plus YOUR CONSCIENCE. The judicial branch is NOT the Constitution. Say this over and over again, will you please, fake prolife legislators? Sooner or later, perhaps in your sleep, you will get it right. If the legislature began to resist, they won’t win the first round. But a long journey begins with the FIRST STEP. Mindless Leftists know this, but Mindless Conservatives don’t.

    • Lucinda says:

      Bird: we should defy the courts? What, are you an anarchist now?

    • Scott Sikkenga says:

      The fact that he flipped to pro choice and did not present an alternative bill that saves babies lives proves he is another turncoat gutless Republican. It is up to the legislature to make the rules that the judiciary must abide by, and with both the legislatue and the executive branch, we have the power to clip the wings on the judiciary… but nobody is smart enough or organized or brave enough to do it. Blood is on your hands…

    • Jean Ann Henry says:

      How did Justin Rufffidge vote on this issue

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    Pathetic RINO response.

  • Mike says:

    So in other words if you feel you can’ beat them , join them ??? What a convoluted way of thinking.

  • Sharon says:

    I only vote for prolife candidates. If they don’t vote against abortion then I completely loose all respect!! They never get my vote again. They prove they are not trustworthy and actually a liar! The courts are not and never were meant to be the top!! Very disappointing!!!

  • CD says:

    “The truth is, motions like Rep. Eastman’s can do nothing to actually stop state Medicaid spending for abortion. If they would truly prevent abortion, I would’ve voted against tabling, and for their passage. But they don’t.” I don’t see anybody in the comments addressing this issue. President George Bush passed a prolife measure that had no teeth to it. I believe he only voted for it to appease prolifers yet he knew it wasn’t going to stop abortions. So is he noble because he signed it into law? I don’t think so because it was all a farce.

  • Meister says:

    Because the issue is abortion, this seems especially grievous. But when our Republican officials cross the aisle to join Democrats in ANY liberal vote, it feels like a huge betrayal. God help us. Our ‘conservative’ elected officials certainly aren’t.

  • Therese J. Syren says:

    We must Demand that all “pro-life” legislators unite to Co-sponsor the Life at Conception Act or a similar measure, Now; this session.
    Those Pontius Pilate pro-lifers who are finally unwilling to prevent murder of unborn Alaskan children must be replaced as soon as possible and permanently.

  • ML Moore says:

    Lots of great comments here, and I thank Mr. Eastman, for his comments. Simply, as was somewhat conveyed by Mr. Bird, is that the US Supreme Court, loosely stated, “That women do not have a constitutional right to have an abortion. That individual States will make that determination by the vote of its people”. Our Alaska Supreme Court, can only state that not paying for abortions is unconstitutional based an inequity medical services provided. So, if a state passes a law that makes abortion illegal, the service could not be provided. Therefore, billing for an unlawful service under medicaid would be a moot point, and criminal. We are headed in the right direction, but we need to start at the beginning, the passing of a law that would make abortion illegal. Which, as I understand all Republicans are in agreement with.

  • Therese Syren says:

    CD, it’s not at all true that amendments like Eastman’s do nothing to stop abortion. ‘The Law is a great teacher.” Pro-aborts are keenly aware of that; they must be amazed how easily they have silenced the pro-life majority yet again . Secondly, even given the Dems are certain to pass state funding of abortion, and our SC judges to uphold it, our Constitution clearly protects the life of every citizen from the very first line, so the judiciary has no authority to prevent laws which recognize that right from taking effect. It’s your duty, and Gov. Dunleavy’s, to understand that basic principle of government and therefore to stand up against unconstitutional rulings. The fact is, Gov. Dunleavy could stop abortions of Alaska’s unborn citizens altogether immediately simply by an ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ recognizing their right to life in our constitution. In this way Alaska could make reparation being one of the very first states to spill innocent blood. But that’s not going to happen while his own legislative allies won’t even object to paying for the ongoing murders. and actually oppose those who do.
    Finally, even if it Were true that passing the amendment would not prevent a single abortion, that circumstance would never justify voting against it. Abortion is an intrinsically evil act, and no circumstance can excuse something per se evil. It was a terrible mistake to table it, even though certain the Dems would inevitably reinstate it. God’s Natural Law written on our heart does not demand that we be successful, nor even that we do every good possible, for it is sometimes necessary to tolerate an evil for the sake of a greater good. However, God / Natural Law does require that we never actually do an evil, even as a means to a good. Furthermore, all history shows that doing the good & speaking the truth Is always successful ultimately.

  • Therese Syren says:

    Dear Editor, I would like to amend the last two sentences to “However, the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God (Declaration of Independence) absolutely require that we never commit an evil (such as voting to fund abortion ) even as the means to a great good, much less the ending of a session on a convenient timetable. Furthermore, all history confirms that doing the good and speaking the truth is always successful ultimately.