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Anti-abortion car license plates

States considering "Choose life" laws.
Current status of the laws.


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States which are considering Choose Life plates:

As of 2003-MAR-3, legislative activity is underway in many states. On 2002-APR, the Center for Reproductive Rights listed fifteen such states (CA, FL, IA, IL, KS, KY, MI, MN, MS, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, and WV). 1 Some sources claim that 30 or 40 states are considering legislation. Some state activity is described below:

  • Georgia: House Bill 1281 was introduced in 1998-JAN to authorize manufacture and distribution of Choose Life plates, if 1,000 applications were received from motorists. The bill was never approved. Similar bills were introduced in 2003: HB 254 and HB 286. Both were referred to the House Committee on Children and Youth.
  • Illinois: House bill HB 10 has been introduced and has been assigned to a committee. Senate bill SB 1502 was introduced in the Illinois senate, and has also been referred to a committee. It would prohibit funding any organization which is "involved or associated with any abortion activities, including counseling for or referrals to abortion clinics, providing medical 10 abortion-related procedures, or pro-abortion advertising." "Pro-abortion" is a conservative Christian term for "pro-choice." 2
  • Iowa: The Iowa Family Policy Center, a Fundamentalist Christian pro-life group, has 314 individuals signed up for their proposed "choose life" plates as of 2003-APR-4. They need to have 500 signed up before the Department of Transport would be able to produce the plates. They also need to be able to ask a state government department to sponsor bill HF 139 which would make the plates available at a premium of $35.00.
  • Kansas: In 2002-FEB, a bill to authorize the sale of plates passed 21 to 19 in the Senate. In 2002-APR it passed 64 to 59 in the House. Governor Bill Graves vetoed the bill in 2002-APR. He said that vehicle tags should not be used as moving billboards for editorial comment. Motorists would have paid the standard $40 fee for specialty license plates plus an additional $25 to $100 to Kansans for Life, a pro-life group.  3
  • Michigan: Senate Bill SB 112 was introduced on 2003-JAN-29. The plates would cost an extra $25, of which $20 would go to the "Choose Life fund." A similar bill passed the state House in 2002, but died in the Senate. 4
  • New Hampshire: State Rep. Dan Itse (R-Fremont) is sponsoring a bill to allow plates to be sold for an extra $25 fee. No proceeds would be allowed to go to any agency that offers abortion, abortion counseling, or abortion referrals. Itse said: that some lawmakers will oppose the bill: "those who are against it because they are pro-abortion, those who are against it because they don't believe there should be any specialty plates, and those who are against it because their specialty plates didn't get approved." 5
  • Texas: A bill to authorize license plates was debated by the Texas' House State Affairs Committee on 2003-APR-7. It did not proceed.

    Bill H.B. 109 has been initiated in 2008 to approve the creation of Choose Life license plates.

    Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life -- a group that promotes abortion only to save the life of the woman --  9 anticipates that it will pass. He said:

    "We think we have the votes to pass it. ... it has tremendous...grassroots support and we are optimistic that going into our legislative session, which begins in January, that we can get this bill past the legislature and to the governor's desk for his signature. Twenty-two dollars would go to a special fund that would be administered to non-profit charitable organizations, pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and Gabriel projects that help pregnant women who are considering adoption." 10
  • Virginia: Bill HB 1406 which would authorize Choose Life plates is before Governor Mark Warner. It passed the House by a vote of 57 to 37, and the Senate by 25 to 14. 6 On 2003-FEB-27, he said that legislators "have gone too far" by turning the special license plate program into a political forum. He said: "I have a real concern about our license plates becoming state-sanctioned political statements." The American Civil Liberties Union has indicated that it will sue if the governor signs the bill into law. "This is not about reproductive freedom but about free speech," ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis wrote in a press release: "The legislature cannot issue a license plate advocating one viewpoint on reproductive freedom without giving the other viewpoint the same opportunity." 7 In a poll of their web site's visitors, HamptonRoads.com found that:
    • 42% would prefer that the issue be dropped.
    • 31% supported the Choose Life plate.
    • 23% wanted both Choose Life and a pro-choice plate.
    • 4% prefer  a Support Adoption plate. (N = 4299) 8

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Status of "choose life" license plate laws:

As of mid-2006:

  • 18 states had laws on the books that allow the production of "Choose-life" plates.
  • They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee
  • Of these, laws in South Carolina and Tennessee have been blocked by court orders.

During the 2006 legislative session in Georgia, a bill was passed and signed by the governor. It became effective on 2007-JAN-01

According to OneNewsNow, as of the end of 2008: 

  • 19 states have "Choose Life" license plates for sale
  • 3 have approved their sale and will make them available soon 11

References:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Choose Life' license plates," Center for Reproductive Rights, at: http://www.crlp.org/crt_plates.html
  2. "Illinois Legislation," Illinois Choose Life," at: http://www.ilchoose-life.org/
  3. "Kansas governor nixes 'Choose Life' plates," Associated Press, 2002-APR-26, at: http://www.freedomforum.org/
  4. "Oppose political license plates," Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michgan, 2003-MAR-3 at: http://www.miplannedparenthoodaction.org/
  5. "License plate backers not worried about ruling," Associated Press, 2003-JAN-3, at: http://www.thestate.com/mld/
  6. "Should Virginia offer a 'Choose Life' license late?," HamptonRoads.com poll, at: http://home.hamptonroads.com/poll/
  7. "ACLU asks Warner to veto 'Choose Life' legislation," DailyPress.com, 2003-FEB-27, at:
     http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/
  8. "Supreme Court Will Not Block Louisiana Choose Life Plate," Americans United for Life, 2002-OCT-15, at: http://www.unitedforlife.org/
  9. Texas Alliance for Life has a home page at: http://www.texasallianceforlife.org/
  10. Charlie Butts, " 'Choose Life' car tag campaign goes to Texas," OneNewsNow.com, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/

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Home > "Hot" religious topics > Abortion > License plates > here

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Copyright © 2003 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-MAR-1
Latest update: 2008-DEC-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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