Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill last week that would have allowed drivers to buy pro-life license plates for their vehicles.
Snyder, a Republican who has a mixed record on pro-life legislation, said he thinks it is not appropriate for the state to issue the “Choose Life” license plates. He said the political message could “bitterly divide millions of Michiganders,” according to The Detroit News.
Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan, which backed the legislation, said they are disappointed. She said the bill designated proceeds from the sales of the plates to help pregnant moms and babies.
“We hoped [the governor] would recognize this wonderful opportunity to provide care to pregnant women in need and help suicide prevention efforts,” Listing said. “The support for the Choose Life plate is still there and it will happen in Michigan, it’s just a matter of time. We look forward to taking the issue up with our next governor.”
The state legislature passed the bill in May. It would have allowed the “Choose Life” license plates to be issued and sold for $35.
“… the proceeds would go towards a special Choose Life fund, that would support life affirming services such as the services that you would find at a pregnancy resource center,” said state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, the lead sponsor of the bill. “They take care of mothers facing unplanned pregnancy, provide for daily needs.”
Colbeck said some of the funds also will support suicide prevention services.
“This is not something that’s hateful, going off and providing mothers with the resources that they needed. It’s a very positive message and it’s something that I hope everyone would get behind,” he added.
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Michigan abortion activists lobbied against the legislation.
According to Right to Life of Michigan, the Planned Parenthood abortion chain opposed the bill because it would have allowed drivers to help pro-life pregnancy centers. At the same time, the abortion chain is demanding that taxpayers be forced to continue giving it money, the pro-life group pointed out.
Planned Parenthood celebrated the news of the governor’s veto, and a spokesperson for the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said Snyder “did the right thing,” according to the local news.
“Choose Life” license plates are available in 30 states, according to the organization that promotes the effort. Nebraska became the 30th state after its legislature passed a pro-life bill in April.
The “Choose Life” organization reports the license plates have raised millions of dollars to help pregnant and parenting families and adoptions. In the Midwest, Indiana raised $650,000, and Ohio raised more than $500,000 through the specialty plates. Both states have more than 25,000 vehicles with “Choose Life” plates, according to the organization.
In 2016, North Carolina won a long court battle when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that its “Choose Life” license plates, approved by the legislature in 2011, are constitutional.
The battle over the North Carolina plates went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, LifeNews reported. The high court ordered the 4th Circuit Court, which previously struck down the law, to reconsider the case in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in another license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.