About Choose Life
The following is provided courtesy of Choose Life, Inc., the national Choose Life organization located in Ocala, Florida and relates to the Choose Life license plate in Florida.
1. Where did the Choose Life specialty plate concept originate?
County Commissioner Randy Harris initiated the effort in 1997 in Ocala, Florida.
2. Why we sponsored this bill?
The Choose Life license plate promotes and financially supports adoption by helping crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies, and adoption-minded pregnant mothers with their prenatal and delivery expenses, temporary housing, transportation, utility bills, food, maternity clothing and similar expenses of infants until placed with an adoptive family.
3. Who gets the money raised by Choose Life plate sales?
Non-governmental, not-for-profit agencies not involved in abortion services in any way who offer free counseling and services to women who are committed to making an adoption plan for their child.
4. How much money do you expect to raise?
Naturally, this will depend on the number of people who choose this specialty plate. The Choose Life specialty plate in Florida has been on the road just over two years and is raising over $65,000 monthly. Over $2.5 million has already been realized in the State of Florida toward adoption.
5. How many states have approved the Choose Life specialty plate?
As of July 2004, twelve states have approved the plate (Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mayrland, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee). In addition, there are support groups working to create this plate in 32 other states.
6. Why use the slogan, Choose Life, if the plate supports adoption efforts?
The Florida Choose Life organization determined that the slogan, Choose Life, would sell the most plates and thus raise the most funds for adoption efforts. Many more people indicated a willingness to purchase a Choose Life plate than a Choose Adoption or Support Adoption plate.
The term, Choose Life, appeals to a wider audience: pro-adoption, pro-life, and anti-death penalty.
In Illinois, over 25,000 people have signed a petition stating they are in favor of a plate specifically entitled, Choose Life, and the vast majority of those signers indicate they will purchase that plate if made available. These responses came from 499 Illinois cities and towns, and 87 or 102 counties.
7. What about lawsuits?
Three lawsuits were filed in Florida by the National Organization of Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood (PP), and the Committee for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP). All suits were lost or dismissed, although the dismissal is being appealed on one of them.
One suit was filed in Louisiana, and it was dismissed. It was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on December 2, 2002, the Court refused to hear any further appeal. A second suit filed in Louisiana has currently stopped the sale of further plates in Louisiana and is on appeal.
One suit was filed in South Carolina. The plate was ruled unconstitutional at the first hearing. The 4th Circuit Court has agreed with this ruling in South Carolina and the state has appealed.
(Check the main Choose Life websight for latest in state Choose Life activity.)
Responses to Common Arguments Against Choose Life
1. The Choose Life specialty plate isn't fair, because pro-abortion organizations do not have their own plates.
Any organization is free to go through the same legislative process and apply for its own specialty plate.
Which organization would admit it is opposed to adoption? What would an opposition plate say?
2. Choose Life is a political statement
Several currently approved specialty plates in many states could be construed as making a political statement: The Environmental plate (pro-environmentalism), the Pet Friendly plate (pro-animal rights activism), the Union plate (pro-union labor; pro Democrat).
3. The distribution of Choose Life specialty plate proceeds is not fair
Again, any pro-choice organization is free to apply for its own specialty plate, designating that any non-taxpayer proceeds go to pro-abortion organizations.
Planned Parenthood receives millions of taxpayer dollars to promote its message. It seems more than fair that the opposition be allowed to receive non-taxpayer donations to promote its pro-adoption position.
Do not opposers agree that adoption is a better option than abortion? Isn't adoption a woman's choice, too?
4. Choose Life specialty plates violate the separation between church and state.
The AG's office in Louisiana determined that the legislature may use license plates to encourage pregnant women to consider adoption and other alternatives to abortion, saying, "The state, acting through... its democratic process, has the right to speak this message."
5. Why not use a bumper sticker to raise funds for this cause?
The specialty license plate creates a revenue stream to the sponsoring organizations, as each time the plate is renewed, the fee is added to the plate and goes to the cause.
6. Law enforcement agencies are complaining about the proliferation of specialty license plates.
Legislatures can place regulations regarding the visibility and design on specialty plates and they can limit the number of specialty plates by requiring a minimum number of plates to sell each year.Revised: 2011