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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. pb

    Doesn't the ACLU have better things to do? what a waste!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why do you feel that the state can allow the pro-life plate but not the pro-choice?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  2. Atheist Hunter

    http://www.100abortionpictures.com/Aborted_Baby_Pictures_Abortion_Photos/Index.cfm?FirstPhoto=26

    All these pics look like babies, IMAGINE THAT! Wonder why? DUH!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • sam

      Are you just obsessed with looking at them, or do you think about touching, too?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      not to mention these beautiful baby pictures too..

      http://www.ivf1.com/lab-embryo-culture/

      oh wait.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      SAM........it's easy to sit behind a keyboard and uphold murder. Look at it! You love it so look at it! I think they should put this on every pro choice persons car tag mandatory. If you're proud of your choice then show the world pics of it with you behind the wheel! Don't be proud in a chat room in hiding. wear it on your t-shirt! Why not, it's not babies, right?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • sam

      You need help.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      sam.................you defend this and I need help? I hope that on judgment day God makes you look at all the billions of babies that you yelled, MURDER THEM, MURDER THEM, MURDER THEM! They are alive in heaven, created in the image of God and you will have their blood on your hands, each and every one!
      http://www.100abortionpictures.com/Aborted_Baby_Pictures_Abortion_Photos/

      December 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'I hope that on judgment day God makes you look at all the billions of babies that you yelled, MURDER THEM, MURDER THEM, MURDER THEM'

      wow you are nuttier than squirrel poop. i would put money on you being on a watchlist somewhere.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Bet

      You may want to consider decaf, AH.

      December 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  3. Doc Vestibule

    Do pro-lifers consider the consequences of forcing women to give birth?

    One study by Johns Hopkins University found that the rate of se.xual abuse within the foster-care system is more than four times as high as in the general population; in group homes, the rate of se.xual abuse is more than 28 times that of the general population.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      How about giving them the option of never getting pregnant again? Or would that be offensive to offer up as an option?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • lol??

      C'mon Docster. You have the answer. Kill the group homes.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      http://www.100abortionpictures.com/Aborted_Baby_Pictures_Abortion_Photos/Index.cfm?FirstPhoto=26

      yeah dude they are much better off this way huh! Devil logic!

      December 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • LinCA

      There is also a strong correlation between legalization of abortion and a drop in crime rates two decades later. Children that are born from a wanted pregnancy are far more likely to grow up in a loving home, and far less likely to turn to crime.

      Legal and available abortion is beneficial to society.

      See Donohue and Levitt here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=174508

      December 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Say Lin, does that mean that the end justifies the means? So if the US offered up sterilizations right next to the abortion clinics..the lower crimerates would justify that option as well? Just curious.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      AH. What exactly are you doing about those and other causes of death? Nothing. You don't seem to care that children die of starvation – in the time it takes you to quote troll and c&p into this blog 30 children die of starvation.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @The Life of 3.14: Women can have their tubes tied anytime that they want. Why do you think your comparison is the least bit relevant?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      Because the end justifies the means. Abortion get's rid of the responsibility of one's actions. Getting fixed also does this. I would think you would be for it as another option to help those who don't want children.
      The govt should be offering up to fix all the women that will take the operation as much as they offer up the abortion option.
      You wouldn't be opposed to the govt offering such a helpful service as that right?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Life of 3.14
      The problem is that sterilization is actually difficult to obtain for those that want it.
      The prevalent thinking is that everybody wants kids, therefore sterilization is discouraged.
      The same kinds of people who would force a woman to carry a child she doesn't want would thereafter deny her the option to get a tubal.
      Even as an adult male with a child and the full support of my partner, I had to fight tooth and nail to get a vasectomy becuase I'm not middle aged.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • lol??

      Docster sayz, "....I had to fight tooth and nail to get a vasectomy becuase I'm not middle aged...." Create a Beast, live by the Beast.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      "The problem is that sterilization is actually difficult to obtain for those that want it."

      Then the govt should make it easier to obtain. Abortion used to be difficult to obtain but look at us now.

      "The prevalent thinking is that everybody wants kids, therefore sterilization is discouraged."

      Bah...old time thinking that should go out the door with other notions like responsiblity for one's actions.

      "The same kinds of people who would force a woman to carry a child she doesn't want would thereafter deny her the option to get a tubal."

      We don't worry about those kinds of people. Their opinion doesn't matter anymore than it does on abortion. I am sure the ACLU would agree.

      "Even as an adult male with a child and the full support of my partner, I had to fight tooth and nail to get a vasectomy becuase I'm not middle aged."

      Hopefully the govt will fix such problems.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Life of 3.14

      You said, "Say Lin, does that mean that the end justifies the means?"
      Of course not, and I never said it should.

      You said, "So if the US offered up sterilizations right next to the abortion clinics..the lower crimerates would justify that option as well? Just curious."
      Why next to the clinics? Sterilization, just as abortion, should be available as form of family planning. Monogamous couples that have reached their desired family size can remove a lot of the hassle of contraception with sterilization.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @The Life of 3.14: There is no end, only means; and abortion is much cheaper, btw. You could probably get 4 or 5 before you reached the cost of a tubal ligation.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Life o 3.14
      It isn't the big bad ol' government that makes sterilization difficult to obtain, it is the doctors themselves.
      They will basically refuse the procedure, just as certain doctors refuse to perform abortions.
      For some reason, a lot of people, including doctors, do not think that anyone who is childless and/or below the age of 40 is mature enough to make the choice to be sterilized – and yet they have no problem thinking that a 16 year old girl IS matrure enough to become a mother.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      "Why next to the clinics?"

      Why..for convenienece of course.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      How could you put a price tag on time Sean? No more wasted hours at the abortion clinic. Just get fixed and do what ever you want to then.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • cdarnold2

      The really sad part is, the same people who are so against the option of abortion are also against helping women out by making sure their insurance covers birth control. Seems to me you should be allowed only one fight or the other: either quit complaining about women making a choice you don't support or make it easier for them to get birth control of some form (sterilization or otherwise). I mean, you could always go around trying to pursue the abstinence fight, but statistics show us how well that works out.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @The Life of 3.14: The procedure doesn't really take that long, and I'm fairly certain you're overestimating the number of "repeat customers." Besides, removing the possibility of having children permanently simply because the woman wasn't prepared in one instance is overkill. It's like swatting a fly with a howitzer.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Guy

    chad.... Of course you would know better than the judge " viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment" so your opinion is of more weight than the judges because you are a christian apologist. You disgrace America by picking and chosing the laws and judgements of the state based on your religious beliefs.

    lol, you are a disgrace, a bigot and a fraud.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • lol??

      "1Cr 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."

      December 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  5. EVERY 'PRO LIFE' POSTER

    YUK YUHK I DIDN'T READ TEH ARTICKLE I JUST KNOWS I HADTA COME ON IN AND BATTLE BABY KILLERS

    IM SO SMART AND RITECHUS

    December 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      It's so funny when the opposition thinks they are being clever.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  6. John Schavone

    It would be great if the right-to-lifers would opt to sell a "Choose Birth Control" plate. Our stubborn refusal to teach birth control in schools and make men use birth control, is, after all, in large part the reason abortion has become the final solution.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • lol??

      Whatyda mean we, socie? Who made you the teacher and authority?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  7. Pink

    Personally I find the plate offensive. And because I find it offensive, I would never purchase this type of vanity plate. But I'm not about to tell someone else that they can't buy the plate if that is how they feel. My only concern is that the choice of abortion stay safe and legal for those who find themselves in a very difficult situation.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  8. K. Rhodes

    Easy...print one that say choose death...problem solved.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bet

      What are we up to now, #235?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  9. ReligiousGuy

    Instead of fighting, why can't they release a new plate that says "Women can choose abortion happily" with a smiling woman's face. That way court will have no objections.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Huebert

      Read the article before posting to avoid looking like a moron.

      "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."

      December 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      My moron friend, question is why can't they release such a plate to end wasting taxpayer money?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      *face palm

      December 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  10. Name*dude

    Why not have plate, "be responsible. Use birth control then have fun."

    December 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Or maybe one that says "have fun spread aids" or "get yourself an STD tonight!"

      December 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • sam

      Well...no, AH. They won't be sleeping with you.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      AH. You seem to be anti-everything.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • rAmen

      Santa, he's just pro-anti

      December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      I think AH is of the "If it feels good, stop." religious philosophy.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • rAmen

      why yes, a philosophy mocked brilliantly by Oscar Wilde

      December 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  11. Atheist Hunter

    http://www.wrtl.org/abortion/pictures.aspx#abortionpics

    look and see what you are on this blog defending! Then look in the mirror and be proud!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • sam

      $31 raised by Atheist Hunter so far for a nearby clinic that offers abortions.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @AH
      Where are the pictures of blastocysts?
      Oh that's right, they're microscopic and virtually undetectable.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  12. lol??

    A woman can live without a uterus. The child can't. It is his abode. Stop the bullyin'.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • sam

      That made zero sense. Try again? Or, actually, don't.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  13. New Alias

    Ladies and Gentlemen, nutjobs and exteemists; This is a matter of free speach. The state failed to provide a plate for both sides of an issue. They did not rule on abortion. No matter how you feel about abortion, that was not the point here.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  14. Atheist Hunter

    "We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly eighteen years after abortion legalization. The five states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime."

    – John J. Donohue III and Steven Levitt

    December 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam

      $30 raised by Atheist Hunter for my nearest local clinic that offers abortions. Every time you post, I'll add another dollar.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      So you are pro-choice after all.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Posers are cowards!

      December 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      Including you, A**H***

      Go fvck yourself, punk

      December 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    Men tend to take abortion lightly; they regard it as one of the numerous hazards imposed on women by malignant nature, but fail to realise fully the values involved. The woman who has recourse to abortion is disowning feminine values, her values, and at the same time is in most radical fashion running counter to the ethics established by men. Her whole moral universe is being disrupted....[H]ow could they fail to feel an inner mistrust of the presumptuous principles that men publicly proclaim and secretly disregard? They learn to believe no longer in what men say when they exalt woman or when they exalt man; the one thing they are sure of is this rifled and bleeding womb, these shreds of crimson life, this child that is not there. Simone de Beauvoir

    December 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  16. Nietodarwin

    I have a long list of atheist quotes to post. I'm as bad as "Atheist Hunter" (somebody called it quote mining.)
    5What happens if you are not a virgin (women only) on your wedding night?
    You will be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
    #6What does the bible say about witches? Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." (Exodus 22:18) (More murder in (Leviticus 20:27))
    #7What is the Mosaic Law punishment for being handicapped?
    You are not allowed in church (Leviticus 21:16-23)

    December 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  17. silver

    So a " Choose Murder" plate is all it takes to make the ACLU happy?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lisa

      We're talking about abortion not murder.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • sam

      Sure, for all you fundies who love the death penalty.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Thanks number 207 (We;ve been counting the ignorant christians who make this comment, each one thinking that they are "original" ) TOO FUNNY Go back and read before posting more, you are embarrassing to your side of the discussion.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • gold

      Congratulation! You're the 250th idiot to post that crap.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • ReligiousGuy

      Nope, they want plate that says "Women can choose abortion happily" with a smiling woman's face.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  18. TJ

    First of all I would like to try a keep this discussion civil. Scott thank you for your support but we don't need to call the judge a pimp. to Madtown, yes there are people out there with a different opinion than you.

    I used to be pro-choice until one day my wife had me put my hand on her stomach to feel the "fetus" kick. The high was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was going to be a father and I had felt the proof. A few days later we had a slight disagreement, nothing serious. The thought struck me that she could go out, have an abortion, kill my child and legally there was nothing I could do about it. It was then i realized that she was carrying a living baby with a heart beat (unlike an acorn) not a "clump of cells". Once I accepted that reality I realized the "non-viable tissue" arguement was nothing but a erroneous rationalization for killing a child.

    I understand there are plenty of situations where neither parent wants the child. It doesn't validate abortion it only provides a convenient excuse. The reality is there are many parents that don't want the child after it leaves the womb. .

    December 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • sam

      It's kind of worrying that your first thought after having a disagreement with your wife was that she would go get an abortion.

      Doesn't really say much for your rationality to begin with, so....yeah your post is nonsense.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • mike

      That's fine and dandy, but do not force your views on people who support abortion (like 100% of the GOP does). Pro-life also means: anti-war (gop is pro war), pro-families (gop is anti family, if they were pro-family they would support policies that help single women/ longer maternity leave). etc...

      But i respect your opinion to be pro-life, just don't deny women the right to an abortion because you enjoy controlling them.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      TJ, there are also people out there who don't hold your opinions.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  19. Atheist Hunter

    The cruel irony is that abortion has been presented as something that would set a woman free. This brings to mind the gypsy in Verdi's opera Il Trovatore. Outraged by the count's cruel injustice, she stole his infant son and, in a crazed act of vengeance, flung him into the fire. Or so she thought. For, in turning around, she discovered the count's son lay safe on the ground behind her; it was her own son she had thrown into the flames. Abortion can present itself as glittering liberty, a defiant way to cast off the shackles of injustice. That illusion lasts only until you realize who it was that you threw into the flames. So the second point to make when trying to persuade is that abortion hurts women; it does not deliver on its promise to liberate them. Frederica Matthewes-Green

    December 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • sam

      $28

      December 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • mike

      Did you forget the case in Ireland? the baby AND the woman died. GG to you idiotic religious types, you managed to kill two humans instead of just 1 and saving the mother's life. Death to religion!

      December 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  20. Eli Cabelly

    Choose life? So that means that we need plates that support the death penalty?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • lol??

      Depends what the goin' rate is for votes.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.