New York Choose Life License Plate Lawsuit Heads to Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Choose Life License Plate Lawsuit Heads to Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 4, 2005

Albany, NY ( — A lawsuit filed against the state of New York by a pro-adoption group that was denied the ability to produce Choose Life license plates heads to court today. A U.S. District Court judge will weigh a motion from the state to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit filed against it.

The Children First Foundation, a group that promotes adoption and other abortion alternatives, filed the suit against the state in August for rejecting the plate in 2002 and considering it "too political and controversial" to approve.

Michael Johnson, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Foundation, a pro-life law firm that file the suit on behalf of Children First, says the rejection was a "clear-cut case of unlawful discrimination."

"New York Department of Motor Vehicles officials and their superiors have apparently decided that it’s just fine to deny The Children First Foundation’s applications simply because they don’t like the organization’s message," Johnson explained. "We intend to demonstrate that it’s not just fine with the Constitution."

New York officials considered the plate a one-sided message from a group that opposes abortion and noted that a plate promoting abortion has not been proposed.

Joe Picchi, a spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles, told the Journal News that "It’s obviously a sensitive issue and an issue that we should not be taking sides on in a license plate."

The DMV temporarily suspended review of specialty plates — a move that Elizabeth Rex of the Children First Foundation says was done specifically to block the Choose Life plate.

Picchi contends the decision was made in order to create a better approval process.

Thirteen states have adopted Choose Life license plates, where proceeds benefit pro-life groups, adoption agencies, and pregnancy help centers. Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.

License plates backing abortion have been approved in Hawaii and Montana.

Related web sites:
The Children First Foundation –
Alliance Defense Fund –