Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law last week the "Monument to Unborn Children Display Act," which allows for the creation of a monument on State Capitol grounds to commemorate babies aborted during the Roe v. Wade era, according to ABC News.
The bill sets up a private fund to finance the monument and mandates that the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission will oversee its design, with the secretary of state having the final say on placement and design.
The legislation, also known as Senate Bill 307, argues that Arkansas was "prevented from protecting the life of unborn children" due to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which declared a constitutional right to abortion. The bill asserts that 236,243 elective abortions were performed in Arkansas from 1973 to 2022. It aims to memorialize the lives lost "as a constant reminder of our duty to protect the life of every innocent human person."
According to Breitbart, one of the bill's sponsors, Arkansas state Rep. Mary Bentley, explained that the legislation would allow the state to raise private funds for a memorial to "remember those children we were not able to protect and we will not be able to forget." However, Holly Dickson, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, condemned the bill as a "performative political stunt."
Arkansas, which now has a complete ban on abortion except to save the mother's life, previously passed the bill with 60-19 votes in the House. The legislation does not specify the exact location of the monument, but the Capitol grounds already have "several other monuments, including one honoring the nine Black students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School" and a "Ten Commandments monument that was installed in 2018," per the Associated Press.
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