So it looks like 2012 will bring us more pro-life legislation, but that was pretty much a given. Thanks to Michigan and Wisconsin it looks like we will also be getting more state sponsored “pro-life” propaganda. Both states are currently considering adding “Choose Life” license plate offerings.
“Choose Life” license plates are in and of themselves nothing new. According to the Choose Life group website, 25 states already have active “Choose Life” plates available. Most states that don’t have them yet have groups that are working towards getting them. In fact only 6 of the 50 states are currently without the plates and without a group attempting to get them. So yea, in all likelihood, you probably live in a state that has them or will have them soon.
What I find interesting about these plates is, as mentioned previously, the proceeds almost always go to existing Crisis Pregnancy Centers. These centers have been shown time and again to give out misleading and blatantly false information to pregnant women in order to try and convince them to not have abortions. This is essentially state sponsored propaganda. However the plates in Wisconsin will not go directly to CPC’s. The money raised by them will actually go to Choose Life Wisconsin– a group that will be created with the funds raised; or in other words, a group that doesn’t exist yet. In Michigan, the funds would go to Right to Life Michigan.
On the flipside of abortion based specialty plates only a handful of states offer pro-choice plates. In Montana and Virginia you can get plates that have a pro-choice slogan and Hawaii has a pro-choice decal available. Previously, South Carolina approved a pro-life plate but refused to approve a pro-choice alternative so the 4th Circuit Supreme Court they had to either offer both or neither at all. Last year, North Carolina also passed a pro-life plate but refused to offer a pro-choice alternative. As of December 2011, a federal judge granted an injunction against the plates being handed out because the ACLU is suing the state for suppression of freedom of speech by not allowing the pro-choice plates. This lawsuit will go to the 4th circuit, the same that disallowed South Carolina’s plates for the same reasons.
Most states however, don’t have group attempting to get pro-choice plates and that is a shame. It is becoming an increasingly widespread way to endorse a specific ideology that not taking advantage of the opportunity seems to be a waste.