The stone monument includes pictures of children, an angel and a heart with a small handprint and reads, "In loving memory of all unborn babies." It also includes a Bible verse from the Book of Isaiah: "I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name." Vaughn and Sharon Lower bought the cemetery lot in 1994, adding the monument four years later over the objections of the Haskell County Cemetery Board.
The state Supreme Court, in an opinion published Oct. 25, upheld the ruling of District Judge Kim Schroeder, who ordered the stone removed because it violates state law. "The law says cemetery lots can be sold by the cemetery districts, and can be used by the purchaser only for the interment of human remains," said Arthur McKinley, the attorney representing the cemetery board. "It's not for advertising or the espousal of political or theological messages or anything else."
Though political or theological views can be expressed on a grave marker intended for human remains, McKinley said, the Lowers never intended to bury someone in the plot where the marker stands.
Sharon Lower said she and her husband see the monument as an expression of their Christian beliefs. Remains, she said, may not be available for a parent to bury if a child is lost to abortion or miscarriage. "I didn't think we were making any statement," Sharon Lower said. "Our intent was to provide a place for people to go to mourn children."