You won’t see anymore “Choose Life” plates in North Carolina. A federal judge ruled today that the state could no longer issue the anti-abortion licence plates without offering an alternative.
Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said that North Carolina should not be allowed to distribute specialty plates that push an agenda while the other side of the argument is not represented. Fox said that it was unconstitutional because the license plate constitutes “viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”
According to the News Observer, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of four pro-choice North Carolina drivers in 2011. The ACLU tried to get the state to consider “Respect Choice” plates or “Trust Women. Respect Choice” plates but the state refused to amend legislation. Fox decided that if the state would not allow “Respect Choice” plates then there would also be no “Choose Life” plates in the state.
Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU’s North Carolina Legal Foundation, said:
“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom. The government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view.”
Reuters reports that the “Choose life” plate was one of about 70 new plates approved by the state in June 2011. Money raised from the plates was scheduled to go to crisis pregnancy centers in North Carolina but only to locations that did not provide abortions.
Are you happy that there are no “choose life” plates in North Carolina? Do you think the state should have issued both “choose life” and “respect choice” plates?