A federal court in North Carolina has blocked the production of “Choose Life” license plates in the state until ongoing legal action surrounding the plate is settled.
The American Civil Liberties Union is filing suit over the approval of the pro-life themed plate due to the absence of a pro-choice alternative.
“This case is ultimately about free speech and equal treatment for all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on abortion,” said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of NCLF, in a statement released to the press Monday.
“We look forward to continuing our arguments in this case, and hope the court agrees that the First Amendment prohibits the blatant type of viewpoint discrimination the state has proposed through this one-sided license plate scheme.”
“At every stage of the legislative process, pro-choice legislators introduced an amendment to the bill,” said Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, in an interview with The Christian Post.
“The amendment was introduced several times in committee and on the floor, and each time sponsors and supporters of the bill opposed that amendment. The ACLU contends that this is viewpoint discrimination, and we agree.”
While some believe the license plate will lose in court over “viewpoint discrimination,” others like Bobbie Meyer, state director of the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, think otherwise.
“We believe there is strong precedent to support the expectation that ultimately NC will have its plate on our roads,” said Meyer to CP.
Meyer said that the overall proposal to get a “Choose Life” license plate for North Carolina goes back about eight years when it was first initiated by Rep. Mitch Gillespie.
Left to die in committee, the bill was brought before the Legislature recently in part due to the Republican majority created by the 2010 legislative elections.
In response to the “viewpoint discrimination” argument, Meyer expressed doubts about the sincerity of demand for a pro-choice license plate.
“If their concern was really about ‘free speech’ and an equal message, why was there not a Respect Choice license plate introduced during the eight-year period prior to 2010?” asked Meyer.
The legal challenge in North Carolina regarding the “Choose Life” license plate comes a couple weeks after a similar case was resolved in New York.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, a federal court in New York ruled in favor of the Children First Foundation’s effort to get a “Choose Life” plate issued.
Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, Bobbie Meyer’s organization, is the state contact for Choose Life, Inc., which coordinates the effort to make the controversial license plate official.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., CPCF was created in 1987 and seeks to provide education as well as networking for pregnancy care centers across the state.