by Steven Ertelt
October 6, 2005
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by abortion advocates seeking to overturn a measure allowing state residents to purchase Choose Life license plates for their vehicles. Funds raise from the sale of the plates would benefit pregnancy centers that help women find abortion alternatives.
Judge Donald Nugent dismissed the suit, brought by the ACLU of Ohio for the pro-abortion group NARAL. Abortion advocates claimed the plates constitute "viewpoint discrimination" because pro-abortion license plates are not available to abortion advocates.
Nugent ruled that federal law prohibits federal courts from interfering with state’s collecting taxes, like the fees motorists pay for the license plates.
Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, which argued on behalf of the Choose Life plates, told CNS News, "Just as Ohio can warn of the health consequences of smoking, so the state is entitled to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion."
"If those who call themselves ‘pro-choice’ were genuinely concerned about the best interests of women and children, they would welcome a pro-adoption message. Their actions betray their rhetoric," Staver added.
The Ohio law authorizing the plates prohibits any funds generated from it to go to agencies that perform abortions or refer women to abortion businesses.
The Ohio NARAL collected 1,000 signatures to have its own plate, but said the speaker of the House of Representatives would not allow the proposal to come forward.
Ohio Governor Bob Taft signed legislation in February authorizing the license plates. Sen. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Urbana, sponsored the license plate bill, which asks drivers to spend $30 extra for the specialty plates, with $20 going to the pregnancy centers.
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.