Tennessee Pro-Lifers Turn in Needed Signatures for Choose Life Plate
by Steven Ertelt
January 13, 2004
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Defying the predictions of pro-abortion organizations, Tennessee pro-life advocates on Monday turned in the necessary number of signatures needed to qualify to sell Choose Life license plates.
Only 1,000 signatures were needed on the petition, but Tennessee Right to Life obtained the support of 1,265 people who indicated they will purchase a license plate, should they survive a pro-abortion lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.
Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said, "By any objective standard, the pre-sell of this plate has gone extraordinarily well and we are grateful for the strong show of support throughout the state."
The signatures also were turned in well in advance of the July 1 deadline and the pro-life group obtained support from people in each of the state’s 95 counties.
By comparison, most groups seeking plates experience difficulty in gaining the necessary applications within the one year time frame generally required by the legislature.
Plates have been approved for popular organizations such as the Nashville Predators, the Memphis Zoo, the National Civil Rights Museum, and The Hermitage, among others. However, none of the groups have been able to meet the required 1,000 plate threshold.
"Not only have pro-life Tennesseans exceeded the threshold, we’ve done so in half the time and with support from all 95 counties," said Harris. "We’ve met the criteria. Now it’s time to get this plate on the road and proceeds into the hands of agencies which can offer real help and hope to women facing difficult pregnancies."
Money from the sales of the plate will benefit New Life Resources, a crisis pregnancy program Tennessee Right to Life runs in Nashville.
On November 6, 2003, the pro-abortion ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed suit against the creation of the plates saying that the state legislature is discriminating against abortion advocates by only allowing a pro-life license plate.
The Tennessee Attorney General will likely ask the courts to throw out the lawsuit saying that the pro-abortion groups don’t have standing in the suit. They did not file legislation to create a pro-abortion plate and have not shown proof of how the Choose Life plate harms their organizations, Harris said.
The Tennessee state legislature approved the plates by votes of 26-4 in the Senate and 80-14 in the House in 2003 and pro-abortion Gov. Phil Bredesen let the legislation creating them become law without his signature and without vetoing it.
Bredesen, however, has called for the legislature to review the specialty plate program, though there is no way of knowing how that will impact the Choose Life plate. He says the plate system has grown too large and too political.
Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrtl.org