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'Choose Life' license plates ruled unconstitutional in North Carolina
December 11th, 2012
01:13 AM ET

'Choose Life' license plates ruled unconstitutional in North Carolina

By Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) - A federal judge ruled that North Carolina's new "Choose Life" license plates are unconstitutional because the state does not offer a pro-choice alternative.

"The State's offering a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice alternative constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment," U.S. District Court Judge James Fox wrote in the ruling Friday.

The ruling was praised by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed a lawsuit in 2011 to stop the specialty plates.

"This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom," said Chris Brook of the ACLU. "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."

Republican state Rep. Mitch Gillespie, who sponsored the bill for the "Choose Life" plates, said he would push for an appeal of the judge's decision, CNN affiliate WRAL reported.

The bill for the license plates passed in 2011, and the legislation also mandated that money raised from the sale of the specialty plates would go to a nonprofit that supports crisis pregnancy centers, WRAL reported.

During the fight to get the bill passed, North Carolina lawmakers voted down amendments that would have created pro-choice alternatives such as "Trust Women. Respect Choice," the affiliate reported.

The "Choose Life" plates are available in 29 states, according to Choose Life Inc., a nonprofit that helps states that want to sell these specialty plates.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Abortion • Courts • North Carolina

soundoff (3,213 Responses)
  1. mark

    You know, the Romans had it right. Feed christians to lions and charge admission.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • JCMars

      This is scheduled to be our 1st Atheist President Obama's next executive order.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. Chase

    Too many children already. People are stupid and should have to have a license to breed.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Kurt

      Dumbest post of 2012. Congrats Jack-Hole.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  3. xyx

    Test

    December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • JusDav

      you failed the test. it is XYZ, not XYX.

      try, try again

      cheers
      JusDav

      December 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  4. JusDav

    the opposite of pro-choice is anti-choice...not pro-life.
    I am pro-life, however that is a personal determination. I am pro-choice for all, and me being part of "all", I choose life..
    but again, if you choice the other, that is your choice. I have no problem with that.

    cheers folks

    JusDav

    December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  5. Marineway

    We should approve an alternative. Perhaps one with two little headstones that says "Choose Death" That should satisfy the court and the ACLU.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • mark

      Bite me you worthless POS.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      How bout one that says "Choose a condom"?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  6. Heywood

    can i get a choose abortion plate too? i dont believe the way they do. do i have rights too?

    December 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Final

      What about a terrorist plate? They have 9/11 commemorative plates. It's only fair you know...

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  7. Just dad

    Kind of ludicrous, the plate says "choose" so it represents choice and the best outcome is to choose to have a child. How is this a negative anything. Should we have a black plate with choose death as the required counterpart?

    December 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      During the fight to get the bill passed, North Carolina lawmakers voted down amendments that would have created pro-choice alternatives such as “Trust Women. Respect Choice,” the affiliate reported.

      What part of this don't you GET??

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Bet

      It is only your opinion that the best choice is to have a child. It may not be the best choice for someone else, and you have no right to decide that for her.

      But that's not really the point of this article. The point is that a state can't promote one religious viewpoint without providing alternatives.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  8. Doc Vestibule

    Every egg is sacred.
    Life begins at ovulation.
    Women who menstruate should be ashamed of themselves.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • A-Rod

      do not forget the sperm.....

      December 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  9. Jennifer Moore

    Abortion is not addressed in the Bible. If God ever said it, no one thought it was important enough to write down.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • mrgmorgan56

      Idiotic comment...idiotic belief...

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Excuse Me

      The word "murder" occurs nine times in the KJV Bible.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  10. Lord Vader

    I would not be against doctor assisted suicide........

    December 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • God needs cash

      May the force be with you.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  11. bram

    holy crap. only in this shi***y country are hillbillies tring to prevent over-population

    Bible condones infanticide. Yahweh commits infanticide (see the first born of Egypt), is praised for it, and also commands it.

    Psalms 137:8-9 Prayer/song of vengeance “0 daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”

    1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the death of helpless "suckling" infants. This literally means that the children god killed were still nursing.

    Psalms 135:8 & 136:10 Here god is praised for slaughtering little babies.

    Psalms 137:9 Here god commands that infants should be “dashed upon the rocks”.

    But what's blowing my mind is how people on both sides of the fence are looking to the Bible for insight on the subject. "Hey, we need some wisdom here...let's consult the book that contains a story of a talking donkey". This book has talking animals in it & you beleive to be the source of wisdom & guidance.
    Please, I beg of you. put down your bible. pick up a science book..& lets join the rest of the world in the 21st century.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • rdeleys

      I'll second that motion.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • numbnut

      Best post so far.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  12. Overbear

    LOL people still believe in god. What is next, the easter bunny is real?

    December 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Final

      LOL, you don't believe in God. What's next, evolution is real?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Lord Vader

      It's not as bad as believing the universe was created by some instant explosion from no source. Ha! Go visit Jack Kevorkian.... I'm sure he would love to give you advice.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Final – we have literal mountains of evidence supporting evolution. You have zero evidence to support your particular version of a god.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Cryspyx

      who else would deliver the chocolate eggs and peanut butter bunnies? :)

      December 11, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  13. Georgia

    My body my choice. Simple enough. Why do others think they have the right to tell me what to do? It's a personal choice, just like any other medical situation, and promoting it on liscenece plates is just plain stupid. How about everyone has one normal liscence plate and we can call it a day.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • prochoiceispromurder

      the bab y is not your body. your arm is your body the baby is a person

      December 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • littlebabyJesus

      it's not a cyst on your a$$, it's a life that is growing. I would love to see the fervor over someone bashing the skulls of puppies as they were being born.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • rdeleys

      @ prochoiceispromurder - That clump of cells lacking all awareness is NOT a person.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • sam stone

      it is a life that's growing, but it is still her choice

      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Overbear

      No, no the baby is not a "person" any more than you are "gods voice". The problem with people like you is that you have no clear understanding of science.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • JohnQuest

      prochoiceispromurder and littlebabyJesus are either of you willing to take care of the mother and the child for the rest of their lives? if not, your opinion means nothing

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Jeremy

      So your saying you want to legalize murder.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • sancho

      Well, I think the answer is that there is another body involved. One of your choices made with your body led to this complication. Let's not pretend that this is a simple issue.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @littlebabyjesus

      " I would love to see the fervor over someone bashing the skulls of puppies as they were being born. "

      Yes... if someone was 'bashing the skulls of *babies* as they were *being born* there certainly would be a fervor.

      Peace...

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      Baby jesus, nobody is dashing newborn's heads against rocks, like it says to do in the bible. If you don't know the difference, shhhhhh.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Heywood

      prochoiceispromurder

      yet either way is none of your business. mind your own for once.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Tim

      Human beings are not a "choice". Just today the news talked about a dead newborn baby that was found in a trash processing facility. The police are looking for the mother so they can press charges of murder. Strange how if she had aborted (killed) her baby just a couple weeks earlier it would have been acceptable. It's hypocrisy.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Tim

      " Strange how if she had aborted (killed) her baby just a couple weeks earlier it would have been acceptable. It's hypocrisy. "

      Hmmm... I could be wrong here, but... I think there are laws about aborting a fetus "a couple of weeks" before giving birth. You may want to re-think that one, Tim.

      Peace...

      December 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  14. Badly-Bent

    I am glad to see there is legal support for the opposition! Now, maybe we can get "in god we trust" removed from our currency.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • rdeleys

      YES!!! Great idea!!

      December 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • sancho

      Yes – my life would be so much better if that lousy phrase were off my dollar bills!

      December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • In Law We Trust

      America – One nation, under Law (not God), indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All

      December 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  15. chuckler

    Good lord, even if I was extremely opposed to abortion I wouldn't want that hideous thing on my car. It looks like a 5 year old made it.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • littlebabyJesus

      Right, kill the 5 year-olds, they suck

      December 11, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Bet

      @ LilBabyJeebus – Why not? Your god and your bible supports killing children. Every time your god has one of his many temper tantrums, lots of babies and children pay the price.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  16. JJ

    The ACLU again shows twisted logic: they believe in "liberties" unless one disagrees with them. Then they attempt to squash them. To those who are pro abortion, aren't you glad YOU weren't aborted? As a nation we have justified the killing of the unborn mostly for our convenience and call it "choice." Pregnancy just doesn't happen. In the great majority of cases it results from 2 people willfully making the "choice" and committing the act. Then they want to absolve the responsibility if a pregnancy occurs. May God help us as a nation.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @JJ

      Once again, another christian fundie rant from a "Pro-Forced Gestationer" ™

      Peace...

      December 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You are not anti abortion you are anti s.e.x.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • tom

      Your logic is flawed. The state could have offered an opposing vew point liscence plate and decided not to. This ammounts to nothing more than a state endorsed position on the issue. As a tax payer, I do NOT want my state to take an official position and then deny others their right to dissent. Good decision by the court. By the way, I am pro-life.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • LinCA

      @JJ

      You said, "The ACLU again shows twisted logic: they believe in "liberties" unless one disagrees with them."
      You seem to be a little bit hazy on how the US judicial system works. While it was the ACLU that brought the suit, it was a federal judge who ruled the license plates were unconstitutional. The ACLU was found to be correct, which makes you wrong.

      From the article (the very first sentence), "A federal judge ruled that North Carolina's new "Choose Life" license plates are unconstitutional because the state does not offer a pro-choice alternative."

      The plates are unconstitutional because they represent only one side of the argument. The process by which they came about suppressed the free speech.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • sam stone

      JJ: I doubt that many are "pro abortion".....many are pro choice.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Roger that

      As long as the state offers an alternative the the pro-life plate then there wouldn't be a problem. They should offer a plate that says "The Bible god is pro-rap.e".

      December 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • frannie

      Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. I think everyone would be thrilled if nobody ever had an abortion again. Pro choice means you support the right to choose for yourself. If you are against abortions, then don't have one, but I don't think it is right to force others to follow your beliefs, including what is or is not a child. Personally, I would never, ever have one. But I don't think it's right for me to make that decision for someone else.

      This case has nothing to do with abortion though. This is about everyone having a voice. What if there were only pro-choice license plates? Would you be okay with that? No, you would not, because you would want to be able to express your opinion on the issue. If they are going to make state-issued license plates about controversial subjects, then they need to provide a license plate for both sides, no matter what the issue is. Period.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Karyn

      It's pretty simple–just have a plate that offers the opposite point of view. The Lege had an opportunity to do that, and whiffed. This is on them.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  17. prochoiceispromurder

    God hates aborti on.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The god of the bible was very good at killing babies.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Truth

      God kills the unborn... AND the firstborn. Woo, I should work in advertising!

      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • OOO

      @prochoiceispromurder

      How does god feel about the Nicks this year?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • sam stone

      prochoiceispromurder: nowhere in this country is abortion murder.

      and, you have no authority to speak for god.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  18. prolifeispromurder

    abortion ki lls.

    December 11, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  19. Andrew

    @ProChoiceinCO Try to step out of your bubble. You fundamentalist christians got caught red-handed, AGAIN, doing the most unamerican of things... trying to establish one (particularly nasty) flavour of one religion, fundamentalist christianity, as the defacto official state religion. And once again freedom-loving Americans had to slap you down and expose you.

    I think you fundamentalist christians need to ask yourself why you keep trying to dismantle the foundational principle of separation of church and state. Do you hate America? Do you hate freedom? Are you theocrats at heart? Are you totalitarians at heart? Do you just hate any idea which contradicts your interpretation of the bible?

    Have any of you considered emigrating to say, Israel or Russia or the Vatican, and renouncing the citizenship of America, the country you seem to hate so very much?

    December 11, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Common Sense

      The question is "Do YOU hate America?" I'm not religious, but have you forgotten that we were founded upon christian views? Nobody is forcing 'pro choice' people to use that 'choose life' plate. Yes, America is tolerant of all religions, but that does that mean we must offer a license plate expressing every possibile viewpoint.

      Do you also feel we need to have American currency that says "We Don't Trust in God" or "In Alla We Trust" or "In Witchcraft we Believe" ?

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Andrew

      You are trying too hard to dodge the core issue CS. Just accept that any state with a defacto official state religion is not truly free. The founding fathers knew this. For 225 years, virtually all Americans have understood this, been proud of it, and cherished it. It is only this new wave of crazy fundamentalist christians like yourself that reject this foundational principle. Stop being so anti-American. Stop trying to establish a defacto state religion – one flavor of one religion above all the others. And while we are on the topic... stop trying to forcibly probe those women's va gin as you kooks! If you hate freedom so much, then go elsewhere.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  20. chad

    @Huebert "Why do you want to bring more unwanted children into the world?"
    =>so, if I dont want you, I get to kill you?

    what kind of nonsense is that???

    December 11, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • sam stone

      chad: your side lost. you are free to deal with it, or change the law, or go up now to kneel in front of jesus for eternity.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Guy

      chad
      You are so easily confused, try and comprehend.

      December 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.