North Carolina judge suspends pro-life license plates after ACLU sues
RALEIGH, December 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After winning a nine year battle to have “Choose Life” license plates approved by the legislature, pro-lifers in North Carolina are now being forced to defend the plates in court.
An injunction issued Monday by a federal judge has prevented dissemination of the plates, which feature drawings of two smiling children and the words “Choose Life.”
The injunction was requested by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU). The organization filed a lawsuit last month, contending that it was a violation of free speech for the state to provide pro-life license plates without also authorizing a “pro-choice” alternative.
The North Carolina House of Representatives had rejected six different amendments to authorize license plates with pro-abortion messages, such as “Trust Women, Respect Choice,” or “Respect Choice.”
According to Reuters, any court battle over the case would eventually have to go to the same federal appeals court that ruled South Carolina’s pro-life plates unconstitutional in 2004.
Pro-life advocates have been successful in defending the plates elsewhere, however. According to Choose Life America, Inc., they are currently available in 26 states.
Bobbie Meyer, state director of the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship (CPCF), rejected the notion that the legislature’s actions constituted viewpoint-based discrimination.
“Nobody in the legislature who would term themselves ‘pro-choice’ started talking about a pro-choice plate until it looked like the pro-life plate would be a reality. They had every opportunity that we did to work toward that end and did not,” she told LifeSiteNews.com.
Meyer added: “There are other specialty plates in North Carolina that express a viewpoint, an endorsement by the driver, that does not have an equal and opposite plate expressing the other opinion.”
Meyer’s organization is the legally designated agency for disbursing funds raised from the plates, which will go to benefit the approximately 30,000 women served by the state’s 76 crisis pregnancy centers.
According to Karen Hill, Executive Director of the Hands of Hope for Life Pregnancy Resource Center in Forest City, North Carolina there is a “tremendous need” for the additional revenue the plates would provide.
“It would help so many pregnancy centers across the state who are struggling in the economic crisis,” said Hill. “Pregnancy Centers are a lifeline for the women, girls and their babies that we see in our Centers. Without services and resources from us, some of our clients would not believe that they have a choice to Choose Life.”
The CPCF has erected a website where visitors can assist financially in the effort to promote the license plates and download an application to obtain one.