by Steven Ertelt
July 10, 2006
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — Connecticut officials have reinstated the Choose Life license plate there, ending a six week suspension of sales of the plate after pro-abortion state officials complained. Abortion advocates said the pro-adoption group sponsoring the plates didn’t do enough business there to qualify for them.
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Ralph Carpenter suspended the plates in late May after state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and a state legislator, both abortion advocates, asked him reconsider the DMV’s approval.
Blumenthal and Rep. Roberta B. Willis, a Democrat from Salisbury, said the Children First Foundation, a New York-based group that also operates in Connecticut, shouldn’t qualify to sponsor the plates.
On Friday, a DMV official indicated the plates will be back on state roads.
DMV legal services chief John Yacavone said he and CFF president Elizabeth Rex signed a "stipulation and settlement agreement" that says the group qualifies to sponsor the plates. CFF will be asked to do a little more work in Connecticut to make sure it meets the threshold needed for sponsoring groups.
“I am very grateful that the ‘Constitution State’ has reinstated our organization’s plate,” Rex said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
The agreement requires CFF to have a more established presence in Connecticut and for Rex to designate a state resident, rather than herself, as the official local contact for the group.
It also indicates that the Children First Foundation is now — and always has been – – in full compliance with all DMV regulations for specialty plates.
Raymond Belair, an attorney who represented CFF along with attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund, said the resolution "resolution of this matter on terms acceptable to The Children First Foundation."
Rex indicated she was upset that the DMV didn’t follow state rules and let her know that the plate had been suspended. She was unaware of the May 25 decision until a newspaper reported called her seeking comment on it.
In a statement given to LifeNews.com, Rex pointed to Chapter 54 of Connecticut General Statutes, which says “No revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gave notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action."
Rex said that should apply to specialty plates as well.
Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant newspaper indicated the DMV is asking the 50 other groups that sponsor plates to meet the same requirements.
Rex said her group had been considering a lawsuit if the DMV didn’t reestablish the plates. The Children First Foundation has lawsuits pending in New York and New Jersey, which have both stopped the plates from going into production.
“This unfortunate event has a happy ending,” Rex said. “Actually, that’s what Adoptions and Safe Havens are all about … more happy endings, more ‘smiling faces’ of children, like those on our ‘Choose Life’ plate.”
Founded in 2001, The Children First Foundation has raised and awarded over $37,000 in grants to pregnancy centers to help promote and support adoption as a positive choice for unwanted pregnancies or newborns.
Related web sites:
Children First Foundation – https://www.fund-adoption.org