home
RSS
'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. jordantaler

    The Fashion Police approves this ruling.

    December 11, 2012 at 4:15 am |
  2. frank burns

    The Bible has nothing in it against abortion, and at some points even implies that it is OK. If it really is the word of God, he would have said something specific. Religious people just cling to this stand as a means of assuring themselves tat there is at least one area where they are more moral than non churchgoers. But by being pushy and trying to force their own religious beliefs on others, they are just the opposite. How ironic.

    December 11, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • Hamruniz

      Yes it does! It's one of the commandments: "Thou shall not kill." How ironic that you misquote and misinterpret the Bible to try and force your beliefs onothees!

      December 11, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • Eric

      @Hamruniz: It's not killing if it doesn't yet exist. And if "Thou shall not kill" did ever stop Christians killing others. Sigh.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Tom

      Hosea 13:16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,
      because they have rebelled against their God.
      They will fall by the sword;
      their little ones will be dashed to the ground,
      their pregnant women ripped open.

      God performed abortions. Blame him.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • TimInNC

      Well, for starters, Hamruniz, nobody is killed during an abortion unless something goes wrong and the woman dies from complications. Even the church has said that life begins at birth.

      Additionally, your narrow interpretation of your mythology is irrelevant in matters of secular law.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:36 am |
  3. mikengermany

    I simply find it interesting that the politicians that made the law refused to allow a contra-tag to this one. That tells me that they don't believe in free speech regarding opposing views within state agencies that everyone's tax dollars support – except when its their free speech...

    December 11, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  4. Shawn

    Pro choice is the right to exterminate life.

    Now go kill your unborn before they grow in the womb. We wouldn't want them getting out would we?

    Animals.

    December 11, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Shawn, pro-choice is the right for you to decide for yourself what is best for you.

      Where I am concerned, you can kindly mind your own business.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • ML

      I find it very interesting how the overwhelming majority of so called "Pro-Lifers" are so strongly "Pro-Death" when it comes to Capital Punishment. It is YOU who are the REAL animals here.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Shawn

      I should have stated that pro choice allows the right to exterminate life or let it live.

      You're still murderers. You're still animals.

      ML, I never stated I believe in the death penalty, so your reply to me was invalid and foolish.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Shawn, do you understand that you have the right to disagree with it, but not the right to impose your views on others? Mind your own business.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:29 am |
    • SCable

      Apple – something wrong here – you and the pro -death groupies like you impose your rules on babies who can't defend themselves while you ask others not to impose their views on others.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:57 am |
  5. Altazi

    I fully support abortion for all liberals. Even retroactive abortion, up to and including adulthood.

    December 11, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • ML

      Great! Then you can start with yourself! YeAH!! :D

      December 11, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • frank burns

      Yeah, we all know that there are religious whack jobs who are murderers, so what's new?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:09 am |
    • Mirosal

      There was a survey done, not too long ago, that said over 90% the population in America's prisons were "Christian", while around 2% were Atheists. Now tell me, who are the real criminals again?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • sam stone

      wow.....what a succinct insightful comment, altazi.....

      December 11, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  6. frank burns

    "Choose life" sounds great, but it is just a euphemism for "Strap a woman to a bed, if you have to, to force her to carry her blastula to full term."

    December 11, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • jeff

      Don't we do worse to people that attempt / commit murder?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • frank burns

      Yes Jeff, and when I see you taking justice into your own hands, by strapping a woman in her first trimester to a bed, forcing her to carry her blastula to term, to prevent her from "murdering" a group of cells or even a single cell, I will know you are serious (and quite mad),

      December 11, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • jeff

      So let me get this straight. A person is mad for wanting to strap a person to a bed to prevent them from taking the life of another human, but they are sane to allow that person to take the life of another human?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • SCable

      Jeff – I think you got the logic down pretty good

      December 11, 2012 at 4:52 am |
  7. Michael

    I have always liked these plates as the key word on them is CHOOSE. This seems to be ironic as the group resposible for creating these plates wants to remove the "Choice" as an option. I have not met anyone that is pro-abortion, just pro-choice. Nobody says "hey, I think I'll just schedule a 4:00 abortion for the heck of it". It is a very difficult choice that wieghs on a person for the rest of their life; but it needs to remain THEIR choice.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • jeff

      If there is nothing wrong with abortion and not the taking of a life, then why is it such a difficult decission to make?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • DJones

      You are very wrong, there has never been a person who is pro-choice, only those who are for or against abortion. Trying to call abortion pro-choice is a vulgar and useless attempt to hide from the guilt of what is being said and done. One thing I can guarantee you is that calling it pro-choice is a useless attempt at removing the stain of guilt and shame that it leaves behind. Anyone who has ever had an abortion has two judges to deal with. The first is their own conscience. Every time they see a child, every time they hear one laugh they will be reminded of the one they killed. We can eventually silence our own conscience, but at a terrible cost to who and what we are. The other judge is God, and he can not be silence and he will not forget. God is incredibly forgiving and will forgive in a heart beat wiping all sin away if the person REPENTS for what they have done. But without repentance, that sin will as fresh on the day of judgement as it was the moment it was done, and the person who was killed will be standing there as a witness. No one is getting away with the pro-choice lie.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • redzoa

      I would ask Jeff and DJones whether they would accept government-forced organ/tissue/blood donation to support the life of another?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • sam stone

      jeff: because people equate the concepts of legality and morality.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • sam stone

      "The other judge is God, and he can not be silence and he will not forget. God is incredibly forgiving and will forgive in a heart beat wiping all sin away if the person REPENTS for what they have done. But without repentance, that sin will as fresh on the day of judgement as it was the moment it was done, and the person who was killed will be standing there as a witness. No one is getting away with the pro-choice lie."

      do you like to see yourself preach? does it make you feel all godly and such?

      good for you.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Gaunt

      jeff, what an insanely stupid comment. Buying a house is a difficult decision, that doesnt mean the house is alive.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:48 am |
    • jeff

      Redzoa, your question is irrelevant. I could just as easily ask "what if the government made organ donation illegal?" Not to mention with abortion you have another human who has no voice in whether they want their life to end or not.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:04 am |
  8. TampaMel

    I am a pro-choice advocate and I disagree with this ruling. The fact that a state decides to have a license tag that makes a statement should not require a license tag with an opposing statement.

    In Florida we have many licenses tags. One states 'Protect Florida Whales'. Is the state required to issue an 'Eat Florida Whales' tag also?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Does protecting whales have anything to do with our civil rights? With seperation of church and state? Your argument is invalid.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • Sam

      I'm pro-choice and I agree.

      But I guess my view is that people ought to be able to use their license plate as a bumper sticker. maybe the state felt a bit more restrictive.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • frank burns

      Protecting a whale is hardly like strapping a woman to a bed for nine months, if that's what it takes, to force her to carry a blastula to full term.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • *hoser dude*

      Do whales taste good?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Eggo

      Agreed.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • SCable

      Unfortunately?! whales already have more rights and advocates than babies in the womb

      December 11, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  9. bigfoot

    This is a victory for all of us. It is sad that we require protection from the North Carolina legislature which consists of a bunch of backwoods, pig farming, tobacco growing, fake Christian, MF fascists.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Sam

      Whoa...if you live there you ought to consider moving.

      Do don't sound happy.

      Come up here to Liberal MA !

      December 11, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  10. Smarterest Human

    It's sick how religious nutjobs always "play dumb" when asked about their true motivation for this kind of action to make these religious plates...as if they had no idea that "pro-life" is a religious point of view...KEEP YOUR RIGHT WING RELIGION OUT OF STATE AFFAIRS! PERIOD! END OF STORY!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  11. Tim B

    Missouri has a Don't Tread on Me plate that was just released last year

    December 11, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • Eggo

      Masochists should sue to demand a "tread on me" plate.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  12. milo

    The only thing worse than a right winger is a pasty faced left winger.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • Apple Bush

      So the tan left wingers are ok?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • Smarterest Human

      At least the pasty-faced left winger will be smart though, perhaps even a nerd.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • ML

      So you're basically admitting that right-wingers are a bunch of "Red Necks". HA!.. I knew it!

      December 11, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  13. Alicia

    Another atheist / gay judge... oiii veyyyyy

    December 11, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Apple Bush

      He is gay and an atheist? I did not read that in the article.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Observer

      Alicia

      What's wrong with either?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:33 am |
    • Sam

      I'll take this as a joke or sarcasm...because of the "oy vey"

      December 11, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • actually

      A lot of atheists and gay people are anti-abortion, actually. Nice try, though.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  14. SCable

    Aren't state and federal funds provided for the Pro-Death abortion centers? Is an equal amount of funding provided for pro-life centers? If not, isn't that view-point discrimination?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • Observer

      SCable,

      If things got bad enough, you would support abortion in your family.

      Get serious. Grow up.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Apple Bush

      What is a pro-death abortion center? Where would I find one?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • iRex

      State and Federal Funds are not used for Abortion, so your point is moot.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • redzoa

      "Aren't state and federal funds provided for the Pro-Death abortion centers?"

      Umm...yes and no. See the "Hyde Amendment." Some states do provide funding, but they are the clear minority (17/50).

      December 11, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • BUBBA

      "Pro-Death" Centers? Never heard of one

      December 11, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • ML

      This is beyond pointless. Roe vs. Wade was decided in 1973. I WILL NEVER BE REVERSED! The decision of the US Supreme Court is FINAL. That's it. They have never flipped a decision and they never will, so just get off it and let others live their lives in peace.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • ML

      Oops. *It (not I) :P

      December 11, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • ty

      Pro life centers are every where they are called orphanages and the are state funded

      December 11, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • redzoa

      @ML – The reality is that a future Supreme Court can overturn Roe and that some current sitting Justices (notably Scalia and Thomas) have expressly stated they wish to do so. For an example of the SCOTUS overturning landmark prior precedent, compare Plessy v. Ferguson ("separate but equal" is const-itutional) to Brown v. Board of Education ("separate but equal" is unconst-itutional).

      December 11, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • Apple Bush

      ty, don't forget the the pro-life centers called prisons.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • SCable

      ML – I'm all for what you say – problem is, the dead babies can't live their lives in peace. Your words don't match your point of view.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • ML

      They are not babies until the moment they are born. If that wasn't the case, everyone's birthday with be the day of conception. You are turning your own personal beliefs into a political issue that has already been decided. And no matter what anyone says, the Supreme Court will never, ever reverse Roe vs. Wade. And if somehow they ever did, the backlash from it would be disastrous for ALL of us.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  15. Smarterest Human

    These backwoods rethuglican states are ruining America! Separation of church and state was created to stop these religious nutjobs from taking over everything.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • phant0m

      I am atheist, but still choose life. We can choose life without making abortion illegal (and therefore dangerous). Killing a helpless fetus is against all of our humanist beliefs for protecting the weak. It's legal, and should be until a substantial majority disagree, but there are a lot of legal things we should choose not to do. It's not just about religion. The problem with religion is they are head in the sand stupid when it comes to birth control. If we want to reduce abortions, it seems the easiest way is education and birth control.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • Scott h.

      Yeah.... Not really, but try again.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • Smarterest Human

      It's obviously and primarily a religious point of view.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • ML

      *It (not I) :P

      December 11, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • actually

      Yeah, no. Study why the Moral Majority/religious right came up out of nowhere. Psst it's because most Christians thought abortion was explicitly legal in the Bible at the time. (in fact as a whole they may have been the group that was the most comfortable with Roe vs. Wade)

      December 11, 2012 at 3:59 am |
    • Eggo

      Atheist generally opposed to abortion here. Hi. Am I still a reTHUGliCON or whatever you're calling people you don't like these days?

      December 11, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  16. redzoa

    For an interesting twist in the ant-abortion campaign:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/us/likely-increase-in-births-has-some-lawmakers-revisiting-cuts.html

    December 11, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Sam

      Great link. Thanks.

      The lesson is that narrow minded (short sighted) thinking can be expensive.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  17. Ronnie Harper

    Why not choose life in death penalty cases, also?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • phant0m

      Agree with you, though the magnitude makes death penalty irrelevant. Over 1 million abortions in this country per year and a handful of death penalty cases. I would not want to kill either, but given a choice, I'd rather kill a murdering rapist than a fetus.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:39 am |
  18. Bob

    Where are my "God is a myth" plates?

    December 11, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Alicia

      Same place your head is....3 guess's and the first 2 don't count.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Smarterest Human

      I want Flying Spaghetti Monster plates

      December 11, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • sam stone

      alicia: what incredible wit....

      December 11, 2012 at 4:40 am |
  19. milo

    It's all about economics. Plate choices means revenue for cash strapped states. Offering Pro-Choice plates would result in negligible revenue.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Perhaps, but I think this is another example of the evangelical right wingers sneaking their agenda into government policy. Unacceptable. We must be vigilant.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • milo

      Apple Bush.....you appear to have a real hard-on for right wingers. Something from your childhood?

      December 11, 2012 at 3:29 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Actually no milo. It has something to do with my common sense.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Michael

      I have always liked these plates as the key word on them is CHOOSE. This seems to be ironic as the group resposible wants to remove the "Choice" as an option. I have not met anyone that is pro-abortion, just pro-choice. Nobody says "hey, I think I'll just schedule a 4:00 abortion for the heck of it". It is a very difficult choice that wieghs on a person for the rest of their life; but it needs to remain THEIR choice.

      December 11, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  20. Sky Cake!

    SKY CAKE!

    December 11, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Smarterest Human

      DOG CRAP!

      December 11, 2012 at 3:49 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.