New law allows anti-abortion monument at Arkansas Capitol

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Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed a new law that will allow the construction of an anti-abortion memorial near the state Capitol.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed a new law that will allow a monument near the state Capitol to mark the number of abortions performed in Arkansas before the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Sanders’ office said late Friday that the Republican governor signed into law the bill that would allow the creation of a privately funded “monument to the unborn” on Capitol grounds. The bill, approved by lawmakers last week, requires the secretary of state to authorize and organize the location of the monument.

It also requires the Capitol Grounds and Art Commission to oversee the selection of the artist and the design of the monument, with input from anti-abortion groups.

A law Arkansas passed in 2019 that banned nearly all abortions went into effect last year when the US Supreme Court struck down the 1973 Roe decision. Arkansas’ ban only allows abortions to save the mother’s life in a medical emergency.

Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation in 2018 allowing a similar privately funded monument on Capitol grounds. The monument has not yet been installed.

The Arkansas proposal faced opposition from some anti-abortion Republicans who said it was counterproductive, and from Democrats who said the monument proposal was divisive.

Other monuments on the state Capitol grounds include a sculpture of the nine black students who made up Little Rock Central High School. A monument to the Ten Commandments was installed on the Capitol grounds in 2018.

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