TThe Texas Senate passed a bill that would allow an anti-abortion monument to be built on the Capitol grounds.
The eight-foot-tall statue would be a replica of Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz’s “Monument of Life,” which was installed last year in the church of San Marcello on Corso de Roma. It represents a figure interpreted as the Virgin Mary, cradling her Earth-shaped womb, within which appears to be an unborn Jesus Christ.
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While Senate Continuing Resolution 24, introduced by Republican state Sen. Tan Parker, would not immediately result in construction of the monument, it would authorize the State Preservation Board to accept private financing and receive construction plans. To ease confusion about the purpose of the bill, it reads: “To authorize the State Preservation Board to approve the construction of a replica of the National Life Monument on the State Capitol Complex.”
However, the bill does not mention abortion, instead framing the statue as a celebration of women and human life.
The bill says the “National Life Monument celebrates the miracle of life and the women at the center of that miracle” and would “provide a community place for Texans to celebrate the beauty of human life.”
Schmalz himself has described the original monument as an anti-abortion sculpture, telling Vatican News: “I found this sculpture to be very, very exciting for me to create…that it could be an interesting project if I could create a of the most beautiful and life-affirming sculptures possible, a pro-life statue that speaks to the hope that beauty can save life.”
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The bill authorizing the construction of its replica was approved by the Texas Senate on Tuesday in a vote of 20 to 10. Although it received much praise from Republicans, Democrats objected to its anti-abortion message .
“A lot of people will feel like celebrating a political victory in the last session of the abortion ban in Texas,” state Sen. Nathan Johnson, a Democrat, told the Texas Tribune. “And now you will set it in concrete on the Capitol grounds.”