by Steven Ertelt
January 5, 2007
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Florida aren’t content that the only specialty license plate available to Florida motorists is one that promotes life. They plan on putting together their own pro-abortion license plates and look to propose them in the state legislature next year.
The Florida state chapter of the National Organization for Women plans to unveil its design for a pro-abortion plate at a conference tonight in Orlando.
The group has spent a year on the project and says it won’t be ready to propose the plates in the legislature until next year.
The pro-abortion plates come after abortion advocates filed suit against a pro-life group that sponsored Choose Life plates. Those plates are some of the most popular specialty plates in Florida as they’re on nearly 61,000 vehicles across the state.
"Why have a statewide platform where only one side of the argument gets to speak?" Cicely Scheiner, vice president of NOW Orlando told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. "We want the right to display our viewpoint."
That’s okay with Russ Amerling of Choose Life Inc., the group behind the Choose Life plates.
"We’ve been telling them to do that for five years and quit suing us," he told the newspaper.
The final version of the pro-abortion plate will be chosen from three that were picked in a national contest. One of the options is similar to pro-abortion plates in Hawaii and Montana — the only other states that have them.
The Choose Life license plate is currently available in 12 states, including Tennessee where they were first made available last month.
However, getting the state legislature to approve the pro-abortion plates — Ohio and Georgia have rejected them — will be a tough battle for NOW and its allies. Also, abortion advocates must raise $60,000 for the application fee and get 30,000 signatures from drivers interested in buying the plate.
The group did not specify where the extra $20 for the specialty plate would go but it’s likely that groups that make abortion referrals would receive funds.
Incoming state Rep. Scott Randolph, an Orlando Democrat, told the Sentinel newspaper he is considering sponsoring the pro-abortion plate if the group obtains enough signatures.
Choose Life plates have been the subject of several pro-abortion lawsuits.
The Supreme Court refused to hold a hearing on a pro-abortion challenge to the Tennessee plates.
The nation’s high court did not say why it wouldn’t take the case, but it is the second Choose Life plate case the high court has declined to consider. Last year it would not accept for hearings a lawsuit from South Carolina, where pro-life advocates were appealing a court decision striking down the plates.
The Tennessee litigation concerned an appeal of a federal appeals court decision in a lawsuit the ACLU filed to stop the plates.
The pro-abortion law firm said the plates amounted to so-called viewpoint discrimination since the state legislature approved a bill for Choose Life tags but not a pro-abortion plate. The appeals court ruled the plates could be sold even anyway.