Georgia Push for Choose Life License Plates Stalled

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 12, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Georgia Push for Choose Life License Plates Stalled

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 12, 2003

Atlanta, GA ( — Unlike in several other southern states, the move for Choose Life license plates in Georgia has stalled.

As do most other states, Georgia has affinity license plates for just about every political cause or charity. The enormous number of plates has caused the state to examine its entire plate system, which is holding up issuance of a Choose Life plate to support adoption and abortion alternatives.

A legislative study committee was created by the Georgia state legislature earlier this year to clean up the plate system. That put 60 new plates on hold, including the Choose Life one.

Some legislators believe the state has too many plates.

"We probably made some mistakes in the past by allowing these tags to exist," said Rep. Lee Howell (D) a member of the special study committee. He believes the system has become too costly.

Rep. Bobby Parham (D), chairman of the House Motor Vehicles Committee, didn’t push the bill to the full House because of those financial concerns.

But supporters of the plates disagree saying that neighboring and nearby states, including Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, all have put forward the plates.

"It’s going to help the families in Georgia. We’ve got women who are in crisis pregnancy centers, and we’ve got kids who need to be adopted," said Rep. Jack White (R), chief sponsor of the "Choose Life" tag legislation, told the Macon Telegraph. "This seems to be, particularly in a time of financial austerity, a good time to do something like this."

White said that if the legislature fails to approve the Choose Life plate, it should be easy to collect enough signatures — a secondary means of getting a plate approved. However, that method would not allow the plate to raise additional money for abortion alternative groups.

Sadie Fields of the Georgia Christian Coalition tells the designation of the money is also becoming a problem.

"Where the rub comes is on the designated part. Legal counsel says it is unconstitutional to designate the funds [to pro-life groups]," Fields explained.

Fields says the only way to make sure none of the money is designated to pro-abortion groups may be by passing a constitutional amendment to authorize the plates.

"Otherwise, our people would not buy a tag where there might be a chance the money could go to an organization that was pro-abortion — and I would not either."

Pro-abortion groups oppose the pro-life plates and say they will take them to court if passed.

"It would be a shame for Georgia taxpayers to fund an effort that’s doomed to be struck down in federal court anyway," said Beth Cope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia.