Legislation allowing motorists in the Tar Heels State to purchase Choose Life license plates is one step closer to becoming law thanks to a vote by the North Carolina state legislature to send the bill to Governor Bev Perdue.
The House voted 68-44 on Saturday to give the legislation its final approval. The bill would authorize dozens of new specialty plates, including the Choose Life plate, that require an extra $25 fee to purchase — with $15 going to pregnancy centers that provide women with abortion alternatives for each plate sold in the state. According to an AP report, 300 people would have to sign up for the pates before they would be sold statewide to all motorists.
During the legislative process, lawmakers rejected multiple attempts to add a “Respect Choice” license plate supporting abortion. The bill now heads to Perdue, who supports abortion and already vetoed the state budget, in part because it revoked taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Legislators were able to override the veto.
Carteret County Republican Rep. Pat McElraft told legislators the plates will raise money for Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship and “save some babies lives.” However, some Democrats opposed the measure because they didn’t want licence plates becoming a forum for debate on abortion.
Bobbie Meyer, the state director of Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, told LifeNews: “North Carolina is the only state in the southeast that refuses to let its citizens purchase the choose life license plate. For eight years the legislation for the choose life plate has been denied a vote even though more than 130 other plates have been approved.”
“The choose life license plate has already raised over 12 million dollars in the states that allow them thereby helping mothers and their families,” she added. “Here in NC there are 85 pregnancy care centers who last year saw over 46,000 women and children.”
Despite popular support for the plate, Planned Parenthood officials strongly oppose it.
“These license plates are specialty plates that bear an anti-choice message,” the group said in
an email LifeNews.com obtained asking its members to urge legislators to vote no.
Planned Parenthood complained that the funds from the plate will go to pregnancy centers that provide women with real choices and tangible help in an unplanned pregnancy. As the abortion business claimed, the centers “promise comprehensive medical advice and services but deliver anti-choice propaganda.” Planned Parenthood also complained it would be ineligible to receive funds because it does abortions while the plate’s goals are to promote adoption and helping women in crisis pregnancies.
The approval of the Choose Life plate comes after significant hard work from pro-life groups in the state, including North Carolina Right to Life and North Carolina Pro-Life Democrats.
The Tar Heel State is home to over 100 specialized license plates promoting everything from Save the Sea Turtle to NASCAR driver Greg Biffle. The Choose Life tag was tied up in the Transportation Committee for five years and now, residents may be closer to having tags available.
Ultimately, the Choose Life plates across the nation have raised over $8.7 million and over 400,000 plates have been sold or renewed in the 17 states that currently have the plate available.
NC Right to Life, the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh, NC Baptist Association, Russ Amerling, National Director of Choose Life license plates, The Family Policy Council of NC, Civitas NC, The Christian Action League, and NC Pro-Life Democrats all support the plates. There are currently 80 pregnancy centers across the Tar Heel State that served more than 46,000 women, men and families last year.
Brevard graphic artist Deborah Vernon Scott designed the proposed North Carolina plate, which depicts mountains and waves separated by two children’s faces on a yellow background. The phrase “Choose Life” is emblazoned in red at top.
ACTION: Tell Governor Perdue to sign the bill by going to http://www.governor.state.nc.us