New Jersey Choose Life License Plate Resubmitted for Approval
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 18, 2003
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — After having their proposal for a pro-adoption specialty plate rejected because of the slogan "Choose Life," the Children First Foundation (CFF) submitted a new plate design that replaced the slogan with a website address: www.NJChoose-Life.org.
The Motor Vehicle Commission’s (MVC) Chief Administrator Diane Legreide rejected CFF’s original design in November. She said that phrases, slogans and/or advocacy messages would no longer be permitted on organizational plates. She made the decision to reject the plates, despite the extensive assistance that the MVC’s Special Plate Unit had given them in designing it.
Rather than break from their copyrighted logo that included the slogan, CFF resubmitted their application with the URL of one of their active websites. The domain also happens to be a legal Alternate Name (or DBA) for CFF in New Jersey, on file with New Jersey’s Secretary of State.
"I am very grateful that the media reported what Ms. Legreide said the MVC will and will not approve and why," says Dr. Elizabeth Rex, President of CFF. "Legreide’s recent statements to the press have helped CFF prepare an alternative plate design that should finally meet with the MVC’s approval."
CFF cited numerous media references in which Legreide’s comments outlined other options.
"Ms. Legreide also stated that a plate carrying CFF’s domain name and ‘identifying the organization would have been acceptable’ (The Bergen Record, 11/25/03) and ‘fine.’ (WABC, 11/26/03)," stated a CFF news release.
Other references included statements by Legreide that she’d "approve (the plate) with just the children’s picture on it, but not with the slogan," and that her decision "is not issue-based or based on my personal views."
In addition to the new design, CFF is confident it will be accepted as Legreide did not refuse their right to have a plate. Following her rejection of the original design, she reaffirmed CFF’s eligibility in writing, and offered to "gladly work with [CFF] to get an approved plate design manufactured as soon as possible."
New Jersey currently has 41 "organization plates," including veterans and civic organizations.
Rex said CFF the proceeds of the plates would go to crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes and nonprofit adoption agencies.
"The Choose Life license plate effort in New Jersey is part of a national effort to get the Choose Life license plate into every state," said Russ Amerling, National Publicity Coordinator for Choose Life. "[We’re] confident that this can happen and are working with groups in 42 states at this time to make this a reality."
While the organization has had success in some states, New Jersey is not the first to reject the application of a "Choose Life" license plate.
"Choose Life regrets that some states, such as California and Arizona have forced those supporting this license plate to bring suit against the state to gain the same right given to many other nonprofit groups," Amerling added.
"The furious efforts of the opposition against this plate, that simply raises funds to support the choice of adoption, points out their intent to oppose anyone that even suggests there is a choice other than abortion."
Ten states currently have plates on residents’ cars: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, and Louisiana, and Montana.
Tennessee and South Carolina have approved "Choose Life" plates, but have not yet made them available to motorists.
According to Amerling, the plates have generated approximately 2.3 million dollars nationwide to abortion alternatives, such as adoption and crisis pregnancy centers. Florida’s "Choose Life" plates have generated 2 million of that revenue, and according to the FL DMV, the "Choose Life" plates were the #9 top selling specialty plates among 89 in that state in the past 12 months.