The monument will contain the inscription: "Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men."
On April 23, 2018, in a 23-3 vote, the Republican-led Tennessee Senate passed a bill allowing a monument honoring “victims of abortion” to be constructed on state Capitol grounds.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sexton and Sen. Steve Southerland, will now make its way back to the House, where a prior version of it was passed last week by a vote of 63-15.
Lawmakers need to agree on an amendment in order to send the legislation to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. If signed, a plan will be developed and implemented for the commissioning of the monument named the Tennessee Monument To Unborn Children. It will be placed on the capitol grounds upon completion, although a specific location has not yet been designated.
The monument, which is required to be funded privately, will contain the inscription: “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men.”
The legislation has drawn the attention of groups voicing opposition to the monument. Planned Parenthood, which the Tennesse Senate voted to defund along with other abortion clinics in March 2018, says that the intention of the monument is to shame women who choose abortion. The group argues that legislators should be fighting for laws that will help the lives of those who are already living.
Francie Hunt, the Executive Director for Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, says focusing on a monument to the unborn when there are living people “who are not accessing healthcare is laughable. Right now what they could be doing is passing the women’s health equality bill.”
Controversy surrounding monuments in Tennessee is not a new thing. A 2013 survey conducted by the Tennesse Wars Commission of all war and war-related monuments in the public domain in the state of Tennesse found there to be approximately 70 Confederate monuments.
Sexton compared the construction of the monument to other ones that commemorate horrific human rights violations. “We have the monument to slavery and the holocaust,” Sexton was quoted telling television station WSMV. “We don’t want these atrocities to ever happen again, so this it put in reference to those two monuments.”
Similarly, Dunn said, “Currently on the state capitol grounds we have a memorial for slavery we have a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust,” adding, “I’m saying that the common thread that goes through all three of those is a time when society said some human beings are less human than others.”
If you found this article interesting, you may want to read about the anti-abortion congressman who asked his mistress to get an abortion. Then read about the Oklahoma bill that would consider abortion first-degree murder.