by Steven Ertelt
December 8, 2004
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Ohio legislators have attached a measure authorizing the creation of Choose Life license plates in the Buckeye State to legislation renaming a stretch of 12 highways in honor of various people. However, one legislator, whose father is one of the named honorees, opposes adding the plate provision.
Following on the heels of a dozen states that have approved the plates, the Choose Life plate in Ohio would send a portion of the purchase cost of the plate to adoption agencies and crisis pregnancy centers.
The bill names a section of Ohio state road 711 for former state Rep. Robert Hagan, father of state Senator Robert Hagan of Youngstown. The younger Hagan says he opposes adding the Choose Life late provision to the bill.
"What’s next? ‘Choose Death’? ‘Choose Choice’? ‘Choosy Mothers Choose Jif’?" he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. "I don’t know what we do about these politically charged attempts to insert the abortion issue into every bill."
However, State Sen. Jim Jordan, the highway bill’s sponsor, said he isn’t bothered by the addition.
"I wanted it in there … I support it 100 percent," Jordan, a Republican from Urbana, told the Dayton Daily News.
He said he would have added the Choose Life plate provision to the House version of the bill if the House hadn’t added it to his.
"There were two potential targets to put the ‘Choose Life’ license plate language into … but I decided the House (should) put it in my bill … and send it back for concurrence," he told the News.
Should the House approve the highway bill, SB 156, it would need to come back to the Senate for final approval before going to Governor Bob Taft. Jordan said he thought there would be no problem getting approval in the Senate.
The House previously approved a stand-alone measure for the Choose Life plates by a 67-25 margin last November.
The specialty plate will cost $30 — with $10 covering administrative expenses and $20 going to adoption groups and crisis pregnancy centers to help women considering an abortion.
According to the Choose Life plate provision, none of the funds generated form the sale of the license plates can go to groups that perform abortions or refer clients to abortion businesses.
That upsets Kellie Copeland, executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, a pro-abortion group.
She claims pregnancy centers don’t give women complete information about pregnancy options, specifically about abortion.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has said the plates violate the First Amendment because similar pro-abortion plates are not included. The group has filed lawsuits in other states seeking to stop the production of Choose Life plates or threatening to overturn a state’s specialty plate system unless the plates were halted.
Eleven states currently have "Choose Life" plates on residents’ cars: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Montana. It is estimated that more than 45,000 plates have been sold nationwide.