Abortion Politics Leads to Supreme Court Refusal to Hear Pro-Life License Plate Case

Mon Jan 24, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

WASHINGTON D.C., January 25, 2005 ( – Today the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in Planned Parenthood of South Carolina v. Rose, a case in which the “Choose Life” specialty license plates available in South Carolina were held unconstitutional by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in the Court of Appeals arguing that the Choose Life plates were constitutional. Liberty Counsel earlier represented several Choose Life license plate owners and crisis pregnancy centers in the Eleventh Circuit case of Women’s Emergency Network v. Bush. That case upheld the constitutionality of Florida’s Choose Life license plate. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family. 

Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit to invalidate South Carolina’s Choose Life license plate because they found the message of the plate offensive. In December, 2002, the district court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood. South Carolina appealed and Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in support of the Choose Life license plate on appeal. In March 2004, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the plates violated the First Amendment because they gave a forum for pro-life advocates to present their views, but not abortion supporters.

Mat Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated, “Planned Parenthood wants to silence any message preferring adoption over abortion. If Planned Parenthood pursued the best interests of women and children, it would welcome a pro-adoption message. Their actions betray their rhetoric.”

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