Texas Committee Backs Choose Life License Plates Helping Pregnancy Centers
by Steven Ertelt
April 21, 2009
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas state Senate committee has approved a bill that would create Choose Life specialty license plates. State motorists can purchase the plates at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they renew or obtain plates and part of the fees will go to pregnancy centers that provide women with abortion alternatives.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill, SB 1098, on a 6-1 vote and now it heads to the full Senate for consideration.
The House Transportation Subcommittee on License Plates held a hearing earlier this month on the House version of the measure, HB 109, but did not take a vote following the discussion.
Rep. Larry Phillips, a Republican, is the sponsor of the that bill and 81 legislators have signed on as co-sponsors of it.
"This bill, although it has a message of ‘Choose Life,’ the funds are going to go to promote adoption, because that is obviously a great opportunity to give an alternative," he told the panel.
Joe Pojman, director of the Texas Alliance for Life, was one of several pro-life advocates supporting the bill and he presented petitions from more than 14,000 Texas residents who say they will purchase the plates should they become available.
"There is a tremendous need for the choose life plate to promote adoption in our state," he said.
Jonathan Saenz, the legislative director of the Free Market Foundation, also supports the plates.
The people of Texas have a free speech right to proudly show their support for life and to encourage expectant mothers to choose life instead of abortion," he told LifeNews.com. "Adoption is one of the loving alternatives to abortion and this specialty plate will help raise money to support such efforts. We anticipate full support by this committee."
Abortion advocates strongly objected to allowing motorists the chance to purchase license plates supporting adoption and helping pregnant women.
"What we are discussing is neither adoption nor abortion it is about free speech and this bill’s potential to stifle that right," Dotty Griffith of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas claimed, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
NARAL also opposed the bill with erroneous claims that pregnancy centers provide women with inaccurate information on how abortion yields mental health and medical risks.
They are also complaining because the bill stipulates that none of the funds can go to abortion centers.
The Choose Life license plate would join the 130-plus available specialty plates currently in Texas.
Some 22 other states have Choose Life License plates on the road and they have raised more than $10 million for adoption and pregnancy centers. Virginia became the latest state when its governor signed a bill allowing them.
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