Unborn fund

Nobody has donated to Tennessee's anti-abortion monument

A fund established in 2018 to build a "Monument to Unborn Children" in Nashville has received $0 so far

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A statue of a soldier on a white plinth takes up the middle of the photo. Behind the statue is a tree, and to the left is a greco-roman style building.
A Confederate soldier statue on Tennessee Capitol grounds.
Photo: Evelyn Hockstein (Reuters)

Tennessee passed a law in 2018 to create a monument for “victims of abortion.” Five years later, the monument has yet to materialize, and the private fund for the so-called “Monument to Unborn Children” has yet to receive a single dollar, according to state sources.

On the books, the fund has existed since May 2018. It was established to accept private donations, including grants and gifts, for the design, construction, placement, and upkeep of the monument on state capitol grounds.


“There have not yet been any contributions received to deposit into the fund,” a spokesperson from the Tennessee Finance & Administration Department told Quartz in an email.

According to the statute, the Tennessee House and Senate speakers were also tasked with appointing a member of their respective bodies to oversee the project. It is unclear which State House representative was or is appointed to the task—Quartz reached out to the office with questions but has not received a response.


The Tennessee Senate speaker’s office said via email to Quartz they believe Senator Janice Bowling, who has a staunch anti-abortion voting record, was appointed to be in charge of the monument. Quartz reached out to the senator’s office with questions, but has not received a response at the time of publication.

The Tennessee unborn monument legislation appeared to be the first of its kind in the US, but was certainly not the last. This month, Arkansas also passed a bill which sets out to install a “monument to the unborn” in Little Rock. Both Tennessee and Arkansas have a near total ban on access to abortions following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. They also rank among the lowest in the country for maternal mortality.

Should Tennessee ever build the monument to unborn children, it would join a statue of Confederate soldier Sam Davis, which is installed in Nashville on Tennessee Capitol grounds. The state’s legislative center has removed several statues in recent years. In 2021, a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general, slave trader, and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan was removed from the capitol building.

Quotable: Funding the anti-abortion monument

“No state funds shall be spent on the construction or placement of the monument, and the monument must be erected using private funds.” —A quote from Tennessee Code § 4-8-305, the statute approving the construction and funding of the “Tennessee Monument to Unborn Children, In Memory of the Victims of Abortion: Babies, Women, and Men.”


Are there other anti-abortion monuments in the US?

There is an existing anti-abortion monument located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Founded in 1993, the “National Memorial for the Unborn’’ is located on the site of the former Chattanooga Women’s Clinic, which opened in 1975 and served as the city’s only site for abortion. It was closed in April 1993 following a local campaign against the clinic. The city has now lacked an abortion facility for 30 years.


The Chattanooga National Memorial for the Unborn continues its operations as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. According to tax records, it has received less than $50,000 in gross receipts per year over the past decade. The organization sells brass name plates for as much as $75 to display on a wall at the memorial site “to honor unborn children.”

Quartz reached out to the Chattanooga site with questions regarding how many nameplates are displayed at the memorial and its annual number of visitors, but has not received a response.


The most recent review of Chattanooga’s memorial on TripAdvisor, which is ranked #61 out of #122 things to do in the city, is from Avery D who called their experience “lackluster.”

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