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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. REALIST

    THIS MADE ME LOL! ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS REPRESENT BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE & THEY CAN HAVE THEIR PLATES BACK..SIMPLE RESOLUTION.

    December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Joe

    Well they should just then allow a plate with a picture of an aborted fetus that says Choose Death. That way all will be equal!

    December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • The Truth

      I see the morons are out in full force today...

      December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Damocles

      You really should flip through some of the posts before you say anything so you can avoid the embarrasment of repeating what 10,000 others have already said. I know you have something fresh and original to add to this subject so don't take the easy way out. Shock and awe us.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      #202

      December 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bet

      Gee, Joe, that's so profound! Too bad you're only about the 100th person to come up with that little piece of idiocy.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Hey Truth, I read your comment below that said 200 people have made this same stupid "choose death" comment. I then said "umpteenth" to the last one that wrote it. I think your math must be closer to the truth. UNBELIEVABLE HOW MANY MORONS THERE ARE.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Joe

      What is so Moronic about it?? People that feel so strong about going out and ending lives that they will call me a moron? Pretty funny. I see nothing wrong believing that lives should not be aborted. I don't think it's a moronic at all. I am not advocating any laws. I am just stating the opposite of choosing life is choosing death. Maybe you are the moron if you can't figure that out.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • James PDX

      Joe, people are calling it moronic because with your twist both plates would actually be pro-life. Or did you think you were being really clever and that we wouldn't figure that out? Neither message belongs on government issued plates. A state slogan or such is all we should ever see on them. If you have a personal statement, get a plate frame or a bumber sticker.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  3. my Favorite South Carolina plate

    I love burning crosses

    December 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      And if they were really unbiased, they'd have to allow it.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  4. SteveinMN

    What you antis don't remember is that before Roe - there were still abortions. There have ALWAYS been abortions. Legal or not, there will ALWAYS be abortions. Get over it.

    The pre-Roe difference was that in addition to the fetus, many of the women died as well. That's WHY we brought it out of the back alley – to SAVE lives. So,. Who is really pro-life?

    Very few (any?) pro-choicers think abortions are a good idea - but they beat the ghastly and INEVITABLE alternative.

    I just wish there were a law requiring loud-mouth antis to accept the next unwanted baby on their doorstep to raise, 'filed-run, no selection involved - drug/alcohol addicted form the womb; severe disability; 'wrong' race, etc. The shrill whining would cease in a hurry.

    December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  5. chad

    The hypocrisy of the anti-theist.

    North Carolina offers over 100 different special interest vanity plates:

    https://edmv-sp.dot.state.nc.us/sp/SpecialPlatesList;jsessionid=7c307c623b3a990e5c242f5c2e5d46164378?category=special

    NONE offer versions of both sides of whatever issue it is they are addressing.

    This is just pro-abortion judicial legislation, plain and simple.

    December 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  6. John

    Go ahead and offer the other side: "Choose Death." Then let people choose what they want to promote.

    December 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      YOu are the umpteenth person to say that exact same thing. Go back to your bible, you all don't have original points to make.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      #201.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Sy2502

    How about we don't put anything on license plates, and let people put stickers on their cars that say anything they want?

    December 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Toothless in North Carolina

      Brilliant!!!

      December 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Genius! It's amazing this never occurred to any of these states. Oh, wait, they were too busy trying to a) raise funds where they were too wimpy to manage the budget normally and b) trying to covertly push their agendas on license plates while rejecting applicants from any group they didn't like.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  8. Calvin

    Next, "I love my dog" plates will be illegal until they have "I love my cat / rabbit / goldfish / chia pet"

    December 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Is that a contentious political issue where you're from?

      December 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Robert

      Yea, because those two things are the same. (eyeroll)

      December 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • urdum

      Show me a state that has an official "i love my dog" license plate. You're talking about license plate frames, which are not applicable to this ruling, because they are produced by private companies rather than the government. That said, even if they were produced by the government this ruling wouldn't apply because loving your dog is not a contentious political issue.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Smarter than you

      urdum – as much as I hate to say it, GA has a plate with a dog, and a separate one with a cat. They promote getting your pets spayed and neutered. There is also one with a cat and dog that just says "animal friend." I'm ashamed to live in GA.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  9. Jimbob

    Abortion shouldn't just be legal, it should usually be mandatory

    December 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Jeff

      @Jimbob...the more posts I see on this site, the more I agree with you!

      ...if we could get some selective late stage (say 35 years old) abortions going, I'd be on board! Lot of people on this site would qualify!

      December 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      The low intellect of the right wing christian "wrong" should lead to more "creationists" winning Darwin awards. Those are awards given to people who have helped the gene pool by eliminating their genes from the gene pool by their own stupid accidental deaths. The modern form is now that show 1000 ways to die.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  10. MikeMazz

    How about wording it. "Force me to have an unwanted pregnancy"

    December 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • chad

      never quite understood the logic that says "I dont want my baby, so I get to kill it"

      December 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Kellie

      The majority of Abortions are elective, involving neither the health of the mother or quality of life of the unborn child. Mostly they are "Hail Mary" contraception, the acts of selfish and irresponsible people caught on the horns of their poor life choices. So perhaps we should have a "Pro-having you kleep your pants on" plate.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • The Truth

      @chad – It's not a baby until after 22 weeks and it never get's a soul implanted in it. The fact is you don't have a soul chad, if you think you do, prove it. Why should I listen to a single word you have to say without a shed of proof for any of it. Take your horrid religion and stuff it back in your ass where it came from.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      The majority of Abortions are elective, involving neither the health of the mother or quality of life of the unborn child. Mostly they are "Hail Mary" contraception, the acts of selfish and irresponsible people caught on the horns of their poor life choices. So perhaps we should have a "Pro-having you kleep your pants on" plate.

      Perhaps you could cite your source for your "statistic"? Of the women I know who have had abortions, none of the women were irresponsible. They were women stuck in bad situations, who were likely to lose the baby and/or die, who had birth control fail...and contrary to what many will tell you, a full half of them were married.

      Granted, this is anecdotal evidence and not statistics, but I don't know a single woman who uses abortion as birth control.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • chad

      REASONS GIVEN FOR ABORTIONS: AGI SURVEY

      93% of the reasons given were due to irresponsibility of the mother

      December 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • chad

      Health reasons:
      1% r.a.p.e or in.c.est
      3% mother has health problems
      3% possible fetal health problems

      December 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • chad

      irresponsibility reasons
      21% unready for responsibility
      11% is too immature or young to have child
      0.50% woman's parents want her to have abo.rtion
      12% has problems with relationship or wants to avoid single parenthood
      1% husband or partner wants her to have abor.tion
      8% has all the children she wanted or all children are grown
      21% can't afford baby now
      16% concerned about how having baby would change her life
      1% doesn't want others to know she had relations or is pregnant
      3% other

      http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abo.rtion/abreasons.html

      December 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  11. MikeMazz

    I have no problem with this license plate as long as they also ok a pro choice related plate also.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • John

      You mean "Choose Death." Ok by me.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • John

      How is "CHOOSE life" not pro-CHOICE?

      December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • BldrRepublican

      "Choose Life" doesn't necessarily mean the opposite of "Choose Choice" (or whatever). This judge and the ACLU are ASSUMING "Choose Life" means "anti-pro-choice" which may not be the case.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  12. Richard

    How about two plates that say either "Choose Fascism" or "Choose Freedom" because, that is the bottom line on the issue of abortion?

    December 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Right because if you don't have the right to life, what rights do you have?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • clevercandi

      and if you don't have the right to MAKE a choice, you have fascism.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      But I don't have a right to choose. Only women have the right. Our current law creates a two tiered system where women have the option to murder someone who inconveniences them (as long as the do it before birth) But men and children are allowed no redress.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    Any organism left to reproduce unchecked will eventually be poisoned in its own effluence.
    Humanity is seeing the beginning of this now.
    Since 1915, the infant mortality rate declined greater than 90% to 7.2 per 1000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate declined almost 99% to less than 0.1 reported death per 1000 live births.
    The days when "be fruitful and multiply" was good and necessary survival advice are long gone.
    The human population is increasing exponentially in that time, from 1.6 to 7 billion.
    One way or another, our species will balance itself out. Natural laws, after all, have no pity.
    The question the human race faces now is how to deal with this inevitability.
    Shall we continue to march headlong to disaster? Increasing population density in urban areas will allow an opportunistic plague rife breeding grounds. Scarcity of resources will result in famine.
    We have elevated ourselves to a place where we have no serious predators. Man's only effective predator is himself.
    We must reduce the rate at which we are reproducing.
    Think of abortion as the modern equivalent of death by wooly mammoth, sabre toothed tiger or infant pneumonia.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Doc, are you actually making an argument for eugenics? How brave new world of you.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I guess that explains why population growth is now leveling off, and will peak within the next two to three decades before beginning to decline, according to all current projections.

      Oh, wait – that totally contradicts what you said. Stupid facts...

      December 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @SixDegrees
      I've never heard that projection.
      Please cite your source.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Damocles

      @six

      According to whose projections? If it's all projections, could you provide me a link with one or two so I can view them? Thanks!

      December 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @BIll Deacon
      Because there is no consideration of promoting any genotype, it is not eugenics.
      The problem of overpopulation cannot be ignored. We can deal with it pragmatically, here and now, or wait for the disasters to strike.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You may not be making those distinctions in your paragraph but look at the demographics of abortion and tell me that there isn't a trend towards population managment

      December 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  14. fiftyfive55

    Just popped back in to hear the same people arguing for the right to kill babies and I was right,they are still advocating baby killing.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      no one is advocating baby killing, fiftyfive55

      blathering such just makes you look like a moron

      December 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bob

      If I have to choose between mother or child, I'd pick mother. She can always make another baby, but the baby can't make anther mother.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That's right.
      We're all actively encouraging pregnant women to get abortions.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • dcpintx

      OK – Give them a license plate that says "Choose Death" – fitting for them.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Doubting Thomas

      There is another option that never gets put on the table (so to speak).

      74 and 12 months more. 75th Birthday equal euthanasia. Afterall, think of all the baby boomers that are going to be clogging the system with them medicare & social security needs. I would grandfather in, that if you are already within 12 months of or already over 75, that you be given an extra 5 years.This would free up resources for all the children that you would like to see carried to term. 2nd thought, You have to fill out on your License whether you are Choice or Life. If Life, you will be randomly given an infant to raise to adulthood. No tax breaks, no supplemental incomes. Because you are doing God's work in raising that child.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • bigdumbdinosaur

      fiftyfive55's mother should have had an abortion.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • clevercandi

      No one is "actively encouraging" women to get abortions. They are "actively encouraging" men to allow women to make their own choices.

      December 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  15. james

    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: The Declaration of Independence

    December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • fiftyfive55

      Too bad they didn't say anything about personal responsibility

      December 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • KEv

      Ironically the founding fathers, though aristocratic, we're still considered leftists by George IOU while conservatives now use the life liberty etc slogan to promote life :D

      December 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  16. KEv

    GOP and dens are inconsistent: one is pro death penalty and pro life and the other is anti death penalty but pro abortion. Lol

    December 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • John

      If I have to explain it you wouldn't understand.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  17. rufus

    If the governement allowed two plates - 1, Choose Life and 2. Choose Death - would that work or would the abortion proponents insist that their plate had to contain a euphemism such as "Women's Health Rights"?

    December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Richard

      You do nothing to support your own position by distorting the position of your opposition.

      I am pro choice. What that means, for me, is that I recognize that abortion is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

      I am also pro life. What that means, to me, is that *I* would not personally choose abortion.

      I see no moral conflict in my position. Do you? If so, what is the conflict? And, if not, why would you distort my position as you attempted to do?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Sharon

      Rufus, that's because it is a women's health issue. We have the right to control our bodies.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If we allowed just twwo plate, "Respect a woman's choice" and "Disrespect a woman's choice" would that work for you?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Michelle

      It still does not give voice to the other side of the issue, so it would not be sufficient.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • MikeMazz

      Choose life lol How about using the Euphemism " ruin your life..have an unwanted Child"

      December 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • RJP3

      Rufus – Choose Life is also a euphemism
      It really means RESTRICT FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

      December 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  18. ajk68

    Let them have the opposing viewpoint plate too: "Choose Death"

    December 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Saraswati

      So is the count of idiots who've made this "point" up to 200 yet?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Smarter than you

      It's not death because a fetus isn't a live person. It's like getting rid of a tumor. There isn't a law against that, as there shouldn't be one against abortions.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Fact

      Well then you should add "Choose Life of Misery as an Unwanted Child of a R a p i s t" as well...

      December 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Damocles

      @sara

      200 seems a bit low, don't you think?

      December 11, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Andrew

      The opposing viewpoint would be "No State-Endorsed Religion".

      December 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • John

      To all you abortionists who object to the term "death", please explain how the blob of tissue survives the abortion. Death is the correct term for tissue that was previously alive but no longer.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Andrew

      @John who said, "Death is the correct term for tissue that was previously alive but no longer."

      Try to break out of your wacko bubble. By your reasoning, I cause 10 million deaths every time I ejaculate, and 2 million more every time I shower. You are are just proving the point that many have been making here... you christian fundamentalists, who want to establish fundamentalist christianity as the official religion of America, are 100% C-R-A-Z-Y.

      Just mind your own business. You can have your crazy religion. But stop trying to establish it as the defacto state religion.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Smarter than you

      @ John – how about cancer? I guess no more chemotherapy, John says it's illegal.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  19. Bob

    Martha's only goal in life: Accuse people who are pro-chioce of "murdering babies" at least once every day.

    December 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • John

      Goal in life of abortionists: Deny reality at any cost. After all, who wants to be a murderer if all they have to do escape guilt is avoid using extreme words to describe extreme facts?

      December 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @John, Goal of pro-lifers: See how how long you can go without understanding that words like "murder" are created and defined by humans.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    I really hope that people of "faith" will read this. I posted it yesterday on the National Prayer Breakfast story. Penn is using logic that all of us "nones" use, which makes us so REPULSED by the religious.

    “What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart," then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.”
    _ Penn Jillette

    December 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • ajk68

      Charlie doesn't admit to killing anyone.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • New Alias

      You should keep in mind that religious fanatics have a strange view of the world. They are SO SURE that they are right, and that all reasonable people believe similarly to them. They really don't understand that other points of view cn abe valid.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      That's because he didn't physically kill anyone. He did it with brainwashing, just like religion is doing harm to the country and harm to our children.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • ajk68

      The problem with Jillette's viewpoint is that he disconnects faith and reason, as if the two don't simultaneously exist.
      Faith must be reasonable. Reason, in turn, helps the understanding of the content of faith.

      More people should read "Fides et Ratio"

      The faith of the Jihadists is not rational.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Yes New Alias, I do keep it in mind SADLY Google "Religion as an addiction" the article makes your point perfectly Still, I post because people ARE leaving religion, or at least coming closer to reason Look at the Pat Robertson story last week, admitting the bible was wrong about the age of the earth, telling his followers "If you go against science,you're going to lose your kids."
      Things are getting better.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • The Truth

      "The faith of the Jihadists is not rational."

      Faith & Reason? Are you nuts or just stupid?

      Faith: 1.Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2.Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

      There is no requirement within faith for reason, and the whole idea of faith is that it is a conclusion that cannot be reached by reason since you must step out onto the thin ice of faith convincing yourself it is safe with no other proof than someone telling you that you will be okay.

      There is no difference between the faith of a Jihadist and the faith of a Christian other than the jihadist is likely to be MORE faithful and the Christian is likely to balk at the last minute and decide not to pull the trigger because they aren't 100% sure of their faith, so if that is what you call "reason" then fine, you can have your faith and reason argument.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • stole62

      Don't get "faith" confused with "freewill".

      December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Howie

      @ajk68 – no, faith and reason cannot exist simultaneously. All faith is by definition unreasonable, and all reason is just that – reason. It is not reasonable to have faith in the writings of a collection of ignorant and insane desert dwellers from 2000 years ago. It is not reasonable to have faith that a man was able to turn water into wine, resurrect Lazarus, or rise from the dead himself. It is not reasonable to have faith in an all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, all good being that still somehow allows war, disease, famine, and other suffering to exist in the world. It is not reasonable to know of the existence of Hitler, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, serial killers, child rapists, et. al., and still have faith in the before mentioned all powerful being. There is no such thing as reasonable faith – the 9/11 terrorists faith is no less reasonable than any christian, catholic, hindu, buddhist or other person of faith you can list, they are all by definition insane.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • John

      So arrogantly full of assumptions it's useless to try to unravel. If I have to explain it, you don't care to understand.

      December 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
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