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Arkansas GOP’s Proposed ‘Monument to Unborn Children’ Is Gross and It’s Probably Going to Happen

What the hell is it going to look like?

A group of abortion rights protesters marching.

We in the United States seem to have a thing for messed-up monuments. From colonizers and confederates to nazis on college campuses and capitol buildings all over our nation, we are, thankfully, in a slow agonizing process of bringing many of them down. But not in Arkansas! Happening now in Little Rock, the GOP-lead legislature recently approved a bill to build a monument at the state capitol to “unborn children,” also known as fetuses, and sometimes, “collections of cells that have not yet developed into human beings.” 

The bill, which directs the Capitol Arts and Grounds commission to make a fund from private donors to create a “suitable monument on the state Capitol grounds commemorating unborn children aborted during the era of Roe v. Wade,” has already passed the state House and Senate, and just needs to be signed into law by the Republican state governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You may remember her as both Trump’s unflappable former press secretary, and as the person who recently signed another bill to make child labor protections laxer in her state. Also, what would a “suitable” monument to aborted fetuses look like? Inquiring minds (don’t actually) want to know.

Republican Rep. Mary Bentley, who sponsored the bill, compared the time in our country when we provided accessible reproductive rights to genocide. “It was a holocaust in this nation,” she said. “And we forgot how precious human life is. And life won.”

“You can ask slaves what happens when we forget. We have to remember slavery in America so it won’t come back,” said Republican Rep. Cindy Crawford, the Arkansas Times reported. But, really? Can we ask them? Slavery is supposed to be over in the United States. So was Rep. Crawford perhaps talking about the descendants of enslaved people? Or maybe she was talking about the incarcerated population who are forced to labor in Arkansas, which is the fifth highest in the U.S.—and remember, the U.S. has the number one highest incarcerated population in the world by capita. (She almost definitely was not, though I don’t see her getting the support she expects for confederate monuments either way.)

“We have to remember abortion in Arkansas so it won’t come back,” she continued, while shamelessly and bewilderingly comparing slavery to abortion, even though there are no clear parallels. “There’s no reason why we can’t have a monument. It’s not a poke in the eye; it’s a ‘God forgive us for what we have done.’” 

What’s that you say? Separation of church and state? Lol, apparently not in the Arkansas legislature. Even opponents of the monument, like Republican Rep. Steve Unger, who is anti-abortion, incidentally, but is apparently able to control his personal tantrums and be professional, thought the monument would be like  “gloating,” and said, “From a Christian perspective, this has the look and feel of spiking the football.” 

Church, football, f-ed monuments. Whatever is going on here is a deeply American problem.

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