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New law allows anti-abortion monument at Arkansas Capitol

by The Associated Press | March 19, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.
A demonstrator holds a sign outside the Arkansas state Capitol on June 24, 2022, in Little Rock to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. A monument marking the number of abortions performed in Arkansas before Roe v. Wade was struck down would be built near the state Capitol under a bill lawmakers sent to Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed a new law that will allow a monument near the state Capitol marking the number of abortions performed in Arkansas before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

Sanders' office said Friday night that the Republican governor signed the bill that will allow the creation of a privately funded "monument to the unborn" on the Capitol grounds. The bill, approved by lawmakers last week, requires the secretary of state to permit and arrange the placement of the monument.

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

A law Arkansas approved in 2019 banning nearly all abortions took effect last year when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1973 Roe decision. Arkansas' ban only allows abortions to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

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

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

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

Print Headline: New law allows anti-abortion monument at Arkansas Capitol

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