The Arkansas House of Representatives has passed a bill to build a monument to aborted babies on State Capitol grounds.
The “Monument to Unborn Children Display Act,” or Senate Bill 307, passed on Tuesday with a vote of 60-19.
Under the legislation, a private fund would be created to cover the cost.
“The protection of life in the womb before as well as after quickening is based on the recognition by modern medicine that life begins, not when the mother first feels the child move in the womb, but at conception,” the text of the bill reads.
The bill continues, “from 1973 until 2022, Arkansas was prevented from protecting the life of unborn children by the decisions of the United State Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 34 (1973), and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).”
“During the period from 1973 to 2022, approximately at least two hundred thirty six thousand two hundred and forty three (236,243) elective abortions were performed in this State,” the text notes.
“As a memorial to the lives lost from 1973 to 2022 due to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and as a constant reminder of our duty to protect the life of every innocent human person, no matter how young or old, or how helpless and vulnerable that person may be, it is the intent of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas to enact the Monument to Unborn Children Display Act and the Monument to Unborn Children Display Fund,” the bill states.
The monument’s design would be overseen by the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission, but the Secretary of State will have the final word on the appearance and placement.
Republican Rep. Mary Bentley, who sponsored the bill, compared it to building a monument to firefighters or World War II veterans.
“Every single year after Roe was set in 1973, we’ve had a March for Life here because we did not forget,” Bentley said, according to a report from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Along with the expected opposition from Democrats, at least one Republican lawmaker spoke out against it.
Rep. Steve Unger, a Republican, compared building a monument to “spiking a football” after winning a football game, the Democrat-Gazette said.
“Public memorials to our nation’s wars where we faced an external threat are right and proper,” Unger said. “A memorial to an ongoing culture war where we seem to be shooting at each other is not.”