Pro-Abortion License Plates Unpopular as Virginia Legislature Considers One

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 9, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion License Plates Unpopular as Virginia Legislature Considers One

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 9
, 2010

Richmond, VA ( — The Virginia legislature could vote this week on a proposal by abortion advocates for a pro-abortion license plate. But if the numbers from other states are any indication, pro-abortion license plates are an abysmal failure compared to the popularity of Choose Life license plates nationwide.

Unable to put a halt to the Choose Life license plates in dozens of states, abortion advocates are putting their own plate together hoping to reap the same financial windfall that pregnancy centers and adoption agencies have.

They are pushing a bill in Virginia to create Trust Women/Respect Choice license plates and they are threatening to file a lawsuit against the legislature if they don’t get their way.

"We really don’t feel like a license plate is the place to be promoting a political agenda," Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL’s Virginia group told the Los Angeles Times, but the organization is promoting one anyway because pro-life advocates have one.

A state Senate panel heard testimony on the bill last week and could vote on the measure this week.

But the Times indicates pro-abortion plates in other states are not selling well.

Hawaii was the first state to have a Respect Choice" decal for plates in 2003 but the Times says there is so little interest the state may consider scrapping the decal.

Montana and Pennsylvania have pro-abortion license plates but just 22 people out of millions of residents of Pennsylvania have purchased one sponsored by Planned Parenthood.

Those figures compare poorly with the 520,000 Choose Life plates sold nationwide since 2002 that have raised an estimated $11 million for pregnancy centers and adoption agencies.

Bryan Kemper, the president of Stand True, a pro-life group for youth and young adults, is not surprised the pro-abortion plates haven’t sold well.

He said he is "excited" they are selling poorly.

"Praise God for those who have spent a few extra dollars to help the pregnancy help centers. In fact we have one of the Choose Life plate on the Stand True van," he said.

Kemper says states should not be authorizing license plates with a pro-abortion message.

"I do oppose the plates themselves because they endorse the choice to kill a child. I know if there were a plate being considered that promoted the choice for the legalization of rape I would oppose it vehemently, so I must also oppose the promotion of child killing," he says.

"Obviously the message on the plate is ludicrous, as they are asking us to trust mothers who choose to kill their babies and to respect that choice. I do not now and will never respect the killing of innocent children," he said.

The Virginia pro-abortion plate counters a law passed in 2009 authorizing a Choose Life license plate and the ACLU is pushing it and promising the lawsuit.

"Before the final vote takes place, all legislators will have received a memo from us explaining why they are required by the Constitution to approve the pro-choice license plate,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. “This is one time lawmakers need to set aside their views on reproductive rights and let the First Amendment be their guide. If they can do that, the pro-choice license plate will be easily approved. If not we’re undoubtedly headed to court.”

The ACLU of Virginia has repeatedly asked legislators to move the specialty license plate authorization process to DMV, where it would be administered in a viewpoint neutral manner using rules similar to those that govern vanity license plates.

There are two identical pro-abortion plate bills in the Virginia General Assembly, SB 704 and HB 1108.

Funds generated by the sale of the plate will support Planned Parenthood’s health and family planning programs — which has generated opposition from pro-life Gov. Bob McDonnell and pro-life Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Choose Life plates are available in Montana, Arizona, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

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