Senate votes to urge — rather than require — erection of a TN ‘monument to the unborn’

A House-approved bill mandating erection of a monument to unborn children on the Tennessee state Capitol grounds was amended in the Senate Monday to instead just voice support for the idea. After the revision, the measure was approved 23-3 and sent back to the House.

The Senate-passed version of HB2381 says only that “the General Assembly urges the State Capitol Commission to consider placing a monument to the erected on the capitol campus as a reminder of unborn children.” As introduced by sponsors Rep. Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) and Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown), erection of the monument would be mandatory, though the funds needed would be raised from private donations rather than using taxpayer dollars.

Design of the proposed monument would be left to the commission, after gathering public input, but the bill declares it will bear the inscription. “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men.”

The bill passed the House 63-15 with the mandate in place and returns to the chamber for a vote on whether to accept the Senate revision. In both chambers, some Democrats contended the measure was politically motivated, promoting one side of a divisive issue, and inappropriate for state government grounds.

Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (D-Memphis) said that such a monument was divisive and some women would be “forced to relive a very trying and difficult time in their life” when visiting their seat of government.  In the House, Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) noted there is already a monument in a Nashville City park to all those who died as children – though Sexton said that structure does not include the unborn and give them the recognition they deserve.

There is also a national “monument to the unborn” in Chattanooga.

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