The Tennessee Capitol soon could have a monument to recognize unborn babies who have been killed in abortions.
On Monday, the state Senate passed a bill to create the special monument; the vote was 23-3, WKRN News reports. The bill passed the state House last week, but because the Senate amended it, the bill must return to the House for final approval.
If state House Bill 2381 is approved and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, the “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children” would be placed on the Capitol grounds. No tax dollars would be used to pay for the memorial.
State Rep. Bill Dunn, a co-sponsors of the bill, said the monument would join two others at the Capitol that are dedicated to victims of slavery and the holocaust, according to The Tennessee Star.
“Both of these monuments that are already here recognize that atrocities occurred because human beings were treated as less than human,” Dunn said in March. “In both cases, the vulnerable and defenseless were subjected to the will of the powerful. The taking of the life of a baby in the womb is related to this brand of inhumanity.”
A few people criticized the bill by pointing to a monument in Centennial Park in Nashville that already recognizes children who are victims of violence, according to the report. But those supporting the bill said the new monument would recognize children who were never born, the report states.
In the House last week, a few lawmakers also claimed the monument “might be cruel to women” who have had abortions, Nashville Public Radio reported.
Dunn responded that the memorial would recognize women and men who have been hurt by abortion as well.
“While the baby can be seen as the obvious victim, the women coerced into abortion, the fathers who can’t protect their unborn child, the brothers and sisters who lose a sibling, and society as a whole who becomes coarsened because life is cheapened,” he said.
In March, Myra Simons, a Tennessee pro-life leader who aborted an unborn child as a young woman, urged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying it would help grieving parents like herself to heal.
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“Establishing a Memorial for the Victims of Abortion would be key to starting the healing process for many, many men and women,” Simons said. “Just the recognition that they are valued will go a long way in helping these hurting men and women to know we understand what they have gone through and for them to know that there are people who do indeed care.
“And also to remember the babies whose lives are forever gone because of their mother’s one misguided decision on that one ill-fated day. Establishing this memorial is just the right thing to do,” she said.
Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, about 60 million unborn babies have been legally aborted in the United States.