Republicans in Tennessee are trying to erect a monument “in memory of the victims of abortion” on the grounds of the state Capitol.
The state’s Senate passed a bill 23-3 on Monday that would require the Capitol to “develop and implement a plan for the commissioning of the Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children,” the Associated Press reports.
The state House passed a version of the bill last week in 63-15 vote. The newest version of the legislation is set to head back to the House for another vote before legislators send it to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R).
Two Republicans, Rep. Jerry Sexton and Sen. Steve Southerland, sponsored the HB 2381 bill. According to the legislation, the monument will be “funded by non-state sources” but will be erected on the state grounds. The memorial will also include the inscription: “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men.” There are currently no specifics about what the statue would look like and how large it would be.
When the legislation was first introduced in March, Rep. Bill Dunn (R) likened the memorial to current statues memorializing victims of the Holocaust and slavery.
“Both of these monuments that are already here recognize the atrocities occurred because human beings were treated as less than human,” Dunn said, according to Memphis Daily News. “In both cases, the vulnerable and defenseless were subjected to the will of the powerful. The taking of life of the baby in the womb is related to this brand of inhumanity.”
He added that the memorial would also be for “other victims” of abortion including “women coerced into abortions, the fathers who can’t protect their unborn child, the brothers and sisters who lose a sibling and the society as a whole who becomes coarsened because life is cheapened.”
If the legislation passes and the monument is erected, it will be the state’s second memorial dedicated to “victims” of abortion. The National Memorial for the Unborn, located in Chattanooga, was created in 1994. The memorial is “dedicated to healing generations of pain associated with the loss of aborted and miscarried children,” the monument’s website reads.