First Pro-Abortion License Plate Appears on Montana Roads

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

First Pro-Abortion License Plate Appears on Montana Roads

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 24, 2004

Helena, MT ( — Pro-life groups have championed Choose Life license plates in dozens of states across the country only to find abortion advocates file suit against many because they say they have been shut out of the process. Not in Montana, where Planned Parenthood appears to have sponsored the first license plate backing abortion.

In Montana, some 47 organizations have specialty plates thanks to some of the most relaxed laws in the nation.

While other states require legislation approving a specific plate others seek hundreds of people who will agree purchase a plate before its offered. But groups in Montana need only to pay a $4,000 fee to have the state to produce a plate for them.

Just days ago, Intermountain Planned Parenthood received approval for its “Pro-Family, Pro-Choice” plate.

While Montana is the first state with a pro-abortion license plate, abortion advocates in Hawaii were the first to put forward the idea. Hawaii has only one official license plate, but organizations can apply for approval of a decal that motorists can apply to their plates.

Like Montana, Hawaii authorizes the license plate decals through an administrative rather than a legislative process.

Stacy James, the CEO of Intermountain Planned Parenthood, told that her group hopes to sell “as many plates as people are interested in buying them.” But Planned Parenthood must sell 400 of its new plates during the first year of availability or it faces being pulled from the system.

James said her group isn’t necessarily in competition with Montana Right to Life, which sells a Choose Life plate to pro-life supporters.

“We want to offer people another option … a number of people that are pro-choice want to have a plate that represents their views,” James said.

According to the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles, 64 residents have purchased the Montana Choose Life since it became available in January.

But those numbers only include plate sales through the end of February and Montana Right to Life Executive Director Gregg Trude tells that plate sales have caught on recently and more than 200 have been sold to date.

“The Choose Life tag is doing very well and I believe it will become a snowball as it gets more visible,” Trude said.

Trude said it took several years for the Florida Choose Life plate, the nation’s first, to catch on and become one of the top selling plates in the state — ahead of many colleges and universities as well as professional sports teams. Trude expects the Montana plate to move up the ranking list as well.

The Montana Choose Life plates raise funds for crisis pregnancy programs throughout the state and Trude hopes as many as 4,000 plates will be sold eventually. That would raise more than $80,000 to fund abortion alternatives programs, he said.

According to Russ Amerling, spokesperson for Choose Life, Inc., the tags have raised some $2.6 million nationally to help pay for adoption services, health care and other expenses for pregnant women considering adoption, and other abortion alternatives.

The Georgia state Senate approved an amendment to license plate legislation creating a “Choose Life” plate for their state this week and a federal appeals court declared a South Carolina plate unconstitutional, though the state is appealing the decision.

Ten states currently have “Choose Life” plates on residents’ cars: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, and Louisiana, and Montana. It is estimated some 40,000 plates have been sold nationwide.

Tennessee has also approved “Choose Life” plates, but has not yet made them available to motorists because of pending litigation.

Related Sites:
Montana Choose Life Plate –
Choose Life Inc. –