Tennessee Senate Passes Bill for Monument to 'Victims of Abortion'

The state senate in Tennessee has passed a bill aiming to build a monument on capitol grounds honoring "victims of abortion." The legislation is now back to the House, which had already passed an earlier version.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton of the state's 35th district and calls for the monument to be erected through private funding such as gifts and donations, without using state funds.

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An amendment to House Bill 2381 added that the monument should be named: "Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men."

The amendment adds that the respective speakers will appoint one member of the house and one of the senate to work with the capitol commission on the monument's design and placement.

The bill has raised heated remarks from both sides with earlier reports noting a particularly tense debate during the house's vote. Sexton himself said to a local TV station that the monument was "put in reference to" the monuments to slavery and the holocaust which already stand on the capitol's grounds.

Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee said in a Facebook post about the bill that "[r]ather than creating a sincere place for reflection, [the lawmakers'] intention is to shame women."

Earlier in April, Tennessee's Republican governor, Bill Haslam signed into a law a bill trying to take state funding away from Planned Parenthood by seeking a waiver to federal Medicaid regulations, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.