Last week, Arkansas legislators approved the erection of a monument that would commemorate the lives of preborn children lost to abortion in the state. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the bill into law, allowing fundraising for the monument to begin.
Senate Bill 307, which would create a “monument to the unborn,” passed the House with a vote of 60-19 after passing the Senate earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Mary Bentley, said that the monument would “remember those children we were not able to protect and we will not be able to forget.”
Abortion in the state has been illegal in most cases since the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
The bill reads, “From 1973 until 2022, Arkansas was prevented from protecting the life of unborn children by the decisions of the United State Supreme Court… 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 bill goes on to state that the monument will be constructed “[a]s 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.”
The bill did receive opposition from some House Republicans.
“Public memorials to our nation’s wars where we face an external threat are right and proper,” said Rep. Steve Unger. “A memorial to an ongoing culture war where we seem to be shooting at each other is not.”
“This monument will do nothing for the pro-life cause as we move forward together,” Rep. Jeremiah Moore added. “It will only be used as a weapon to rally against pro-life values through fundraising and stirring up anger and vitriol.”
The monument will be constructed on the grounds of the state capitol. The Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission will oversee the commission of the artist and the monument’s design, with input from pro-life groups.