Proving the adage that anti-abortionists care about life all the way from conception to . . . birth is passage of a caricature of a law by Arkansas to erect a monument to unborn fetuses on its state Capitol grounds. Let's remember that Arkansas is the state with the nation's highest maternal mortality rank, the nation's third-highest infant mortality rate and it ranks among the worst in terms of overall “child well-being."
The “Monument for the Unborn” law that Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed Friday night states: “As a memorial to the lives lost from 1973 to 2022 due to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, and as a constant reminder of our duty to protect the life of every innocent human person, no matter how young or old, or how helpless and vulnerable that person may be, it is the intent of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas to enact the Monument to Unborn Children Display Act . . . and the Monument to Unborn Children Display Fund.”
Arkansas has 40 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, and has the second-highest teen birth rate in the nation, behind only Mississippi, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Arkansas’ ban on abortion except to save the life of the woman in a medical emergency was passed in 2019 and took effect last year, after the Supreme Court struck down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Anti-abortion groups have been given input into the selection of the artist and the design of the monument. NPR reports that Tennessee lawmakers approved similar legislation in 2018, although it has not yet been installed.
Suggests FFRF Legal Counsel Sam Grover: “Maybe we can propose a statue design that's 100 microns tall — the size of a fertilized egg, when they claim human life begins.” At implantation, a fertilized egg is about the size of a poppy seed, so the photo above of a fertilized egg has been magnified 20 times to make it visible.
This absurd monument would join the Ten Commandments monument installed on Capitol grounds in 2018, which the Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing over. FFRF, with a bevy of plaintiffs, just filed for summary judgment earlier this month in a 2018 federal lawsuit seeking to remove the monument, first placed in 2017. Like most such bible monuments remaining on public land, it is really an advertising ploy manufactured by the Eagles Club in league with film director Cecil B. DeMille to promote his overwrought 1950s film, “The Ten Commandments.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation contends the anti-abortion monument will be cut from the same cloth, so to speak, as the biblical edicts.
“This is what theocracy looks like,” warns FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “They haven’t put a cross on top of the state Capitol building yet, but the legislature and governor are on a Christian nationalist religious crusade to force their narrow doctrines on the rest of us.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with almost 40,000 members across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.