Texas Choose Life License Plates Now Available Statewide

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 22, 2011   |   2:14PM   |   Austin, TX

Motorists in Texas now have the opportunity to purchase Choose Life license plates, the sales of which will benefit efforts to help women find abortion alternatives and promote adoption.

Texas Alliance for Life today announced the state’s newest specialty license plate, the Choose Life license plate, is finally on sale across the state. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will go to promote infant adoption as a compassionate alternative to abortion, the group said.

TAL executive director Joe Pojman told LifeNews today that a coalition of pro-life, pro-family organizations lobbied for 10 years in the Texas Legislature, which finally authorized the creation of the plates during most recent regular session.

“We are thrilled to see the fruits of our labor finally realized with the availability of the Choose Life license plate in Texas,” Pojman said. “Thanks to the support of the Legislature, Gov. Rick Perry, numerous pro-life organizations, and thousands of pro-life Texans, our state now has a specialty license plate with the message ‘Choose Life.’ Supporters across the state can promote the loving option of adoption wherever they drive.”

Of the $30 annual fee, $22 goes to the Office of the Attorney General of Texas to be distributed to qualified organizations that provide counseling and material assistance to pregnant women considering placing their unborn children for adoption, including pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies. Organizations that provide or promote abortion are not eligible to receive funds. The remaining $8 covers state and county administrative costs.

“Choose Life license plates send the message to Texans that there is hope for children in need of a loving home,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “I am grateful to the Legislature for authorizing the sale of Choose Life license plates to raise money for adoption awareness in Texas. And I am proud that the Office of the Attorney General has been entrusted with the responsibility to disburse those funds to organizations that will encourage adoption as an alternative to abortion.”

During the 82nd Regular Session, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 257, authored by State Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) and sponsored by State Representative Larry Phillips (R-Sherman), to allow the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to create the plate. On May 17, Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill into law.

During the special legislative session in June, State Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) successfully authored an amendment to House Bill 2 to ensure that all of the proceeds are available for adoption by fixing a budget provision that would have held 50 percent of the proceeds from all specialty license plates sold during the biennium.

“Few people realize that fewer than one percent of children born in nonmarital circumstances in Texas are placed for adoption, and for every child placed for adoption 60 children die from abortion,” Pojman said. “Our goal is to make people more comfortable with adoption and to promote a culture of life that saves babies whether they are parented or placed for adoption.”

As the official state sponsor organization for the Choose Life plate, TAL paid to the TxDMV the initial $8,000 administration costs, which will be reimbursed after 800 sets are sold.

During the debate in the legislature, Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Democrat from Houston, went as far as trying to change the plates from Choose Life to Choose Adoption because she didn’t like the pro-life message they send, calling it “seriously flawed.”

In 2009, the Texas Senate approved the bill but Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Pickett, an El Paso Democrat, refused to allow a committee vote on the bill.

Texas is the 25th state with a Choose Life plate, and more than $15 million has been raised to promote adoption in the 24 states that currently have the plate available, according to Choose Life America, Inc.