Missouri Choose Life License Plate Unveiled, Available for Purchase Statewide
by Steven Ertelt
May 2, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — After a long and successful legal battle, Missouri residents are now able to support adoption efforts with the purchase of a Choose Life license plate. Plate supporters unveiled the artwork for the plate in a capital reception surrounding by leaders of pro-life groups and state legislators.
In January, a federal district court judge ruled Missouri officials must let a proposal for Choose Life license plates move forward despite a rejection from a committee of lawmakers.
Choose Life of Missouri has been working on securing this life-affirming license play since 2005.
Using a 2004 law that allows lawmakers to block nonprofit groups seeking specialty license plates, two Missouri state senators halted the plates in February 2006.
The group filed suit in June 2006 and won legal victories at each key juncture. The Alliance Defense Fund represented the group and said Missouri officials never should have prevented its free speech rights and those of motorists.
Pro-life organizations shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs, ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster said. Unfortunately, thats how Missouri officials unfairly discriminated when they denied Choose Life the right to exercise their free speech rights.
The Choose Life license plate will help support pro-life pro-adoption efforts, pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and adoption agencies in Missouri.
The group has set up a web site Missouri residents can use to purchase the plates.
Looking back on the battle, the law allowed any member of the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight or any two state senators or five House members to stop a plate. Democratic Sens. Joan Bray and Rita Heard Days, both St. Louis abortion advocates, objected to the plates.
Senior U.S. District Judge Scott Wright eventually declared the law allowing the lawmakers to stop them unconstitutional saying there are no safeguards from the state discriminating against some groups of people, such as pro-life advocates.
Ultimately, the Choose Life plates across the nation have raised over $8.7 million and over 400,000 plates have been sold or renewed in the 17 state that currently have the plate available.