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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. NYOD

    To all the GOP losers continuing their pathetic crusade against women and their right to choose: It was G8d's will you lost the election (according to your own views), so please respect G8d's will and just crawl back under your rock until the next election cycle.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • PaPilot

      Not all members of the GOP are anti-abortion.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      your so full of it you might explode

      December 11, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • maestra730

      Some of those babies that are being aborted are female - where is THEIR right to choose??? Yeah, so much for women's rights. If there is anything at all that is positive about abortion, it's that all you murderers are killing off your own kind.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Maestra: That makes no sense whatsoever.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • sam stone

      maestra: it is not murder according to the law of the land. you lost, get over it

      December 11, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  2. fiftyfive55

    I sure am glad I stuck to my beliefs over the years and will not have baby deaths on my conscious when I'm on my death bed.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • NYOD

      That's OK. As a liberal atheist I would prefer to be in he!! than in your fundamentalist Christian heaven for all eternity. But since there is no heaven and he!!, none of this matters.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      That's because you're either a man whom no woman would ever want, or a woman no man would ever have. It must suck to die as an adult vir'gin

      December 11, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      @NYOD & Mirosal-you two sound like your about ten years old,does your mother know what your doing ?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • sam stone

      good for you, 55.

      you will likely be so doped up on your deathbed you will not know anything

      December 11, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Gaunt

      If you hate abortion so much you can feel free not to have one. thats your CHOICE.

      On your death bed you can feel guilt and regret that you tried to use your own silly, unscientific, illogical opinions to remove the rights from women. I imagine you will probably go to hell for that, if such a place exists.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      @gaunt-do you believe what you write or do you just think others do ?

      December 11, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • fiftyfive55

      @sam-sure do hope so

      December 11, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  3. TommyTT

    Imagine, the right wing wants free expression only for themselves. Who'd have thought it?

    December 11, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  4. Freedom of Reliigion

    Glad to see yet another incursion by the christians that want to tell the rest of us how to live stopped.

    I look forward to the day when humanity is largely free from belief in omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, invisible beings. It's one thing for my 5 year old daughter to have invisible friends, it's quite another for grown ups to have them.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Southerner01

      You don't have to be religious to find abortions disturbing, particularly third trimester abortions of fully viable babies. Note that these plates don't say "Ban abortion" or "God says you cannot abort that child", they say choose life. A simple reminder that there is another option.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Freedom of Religion

      Southerner, we all know that's just misleading. The vast majority of people that are anit-abortion have that view due to religious reasons. Without that religious influence, this would not be an issue.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Southerner, no one likes abortion. But the fact is that unless you are the woman who is pregnant, you have no right to decide what is best.

      And don't even bother to bring up the canard about late-term abortions. They are rare. Women don't skip merrily down the street and just get one. They are almost always performed because the life and health of the woman are in danger or because the fetus is dead or dying, or will face a very short, painful, life that will end in death anyway.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  5. Penny Wright

    50% of American women will have an unwanted pregnancy in their lifetime. The Republicans want the government to force these women to bring their pregnancy to term. Unwanted children are MUCH more likely to be abused.

    Therefore, Republicans are pro child abuse.

    And don't tell me an embryo is a human being. If it was, the thousands of frozen embryos in fertility labs in this country would have the right to own guns...

    December 11, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Southerner01

      So a 2 year old have the right to own guns? Oh, wait, no he doesn't. Bad argument, unless you are suggesting that life begins at 18.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Jen

      Alright southerner. Then you must agree that you can write off embryos as tax deductions correct? After all, they have a life like a 2 year old right? Don't say it's not okay – that would make you a hypocrite!

      December 11, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do we issue a SS number to a fetus? Is there a death certificate for it if a woman miscarries?

      December 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Southerner01

      Do we convict people who kill one of these "fetuses" during a crime, of killing or injuring the "fetus" under the federal unborn victims of violence act? Why yes, we do? So how do they kill or injure someone if it isn't a life?

      December 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because it isn't YOUR choice to decide whether the fetus continues to gestate or not, ding-dong.

      Did you just fall off the turnip truck? Every one of the fetal homicide laws excludes abortion. What part of "it is the choice of the woman who is pregnant" do you fail to grasp?

      The fetus is alive. It is not "a life" equal to or more worthy than that of the born person. The fetus doesn't have the same or special rights that trump those of the woman who is carrying it and upon whom it is dependent. It is up to her to decide; not you.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  6. Penny Wright

    If a woman was able to register her uterus as a corporation, Republicans would have no interest in regulating it.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  7. zlop

    For or against Murder,
    Why allow License Plate Spam ?

    December 11, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  8. Griff

    This story is one of the most disturbing yet. Looks like it's becoming like Nazi Germany under the guise of freedom of speech (first amendment).

    December 11, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  9. Southerner01

    The opposing plate should merely say "Don't choose life" and have the picture of the little kids with a red circle around it and a slash through it.

    That way nobody can argue that it is not the opposing viewpoint to the first plate.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • NYOD

      Typical senseless argument from a brainless yokel.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • TommyTT

      Well, if it had a picture of a single undifferentiated cell with the red line through it, then your argument would make more sense.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Southerner01

      Fine, we've got a winner. They can make a "Don't Choose Life" plate with an embryo with a red line through it. Problem solved.

      NYOD, your pathetic ad hominem ads nothing to the discussion and only serves to make you look bad, not me. Besides, I would venture to guess that this "yokel" has more education than you do.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • TSRVT

      Figures you're from the bible belt with a disgusting and asinine remark like that. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Southerner, what you REALLY seem to want is a license plate that says: I am pregnant. Therefore, I have no right to decide what is best for me.

      December 11, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Southerner01

      TSVRT, other than a cheap attempt to insult me, what did you contibute to this conversation? Aside from the fact that your ad hominem is laughably inaccurate, you only served to show that you had no real point to make. Try refuting what I said, without resorting to cheap, petty, inaccurate insults.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Tomtom, How do you arrive at that conclusion. As you clearly are "pro choice" you have to realise that this license plate is encouraging one of the two options. Think this through and then tell me, what is the other choice. I am not at all opposed to choice. In the "pro choice" scenario, what are the choices? The people who made this tag clearly think that one choice is to "choose life" or let the "fetus" be born. Call it anything ytou like. What is the other choice?

      December 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Atheist Hunter

    Just further violation of rights of conservatives. If it had said "pro choice" or had been promoting "planned parenthood" it would have not been questioned. Just a bunch of murdering liberals trying to force their selfish opinions on conservatives. IMAGINE THAT! You need to outlaw team tags too, cause everyone don't agree with and like certain teams either. Makes just as much sense!

    December 11, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Freedom of Reliigion

      Atheist Hunter, I encourage you to come find me and hunt me. I'll gladly wipe the floor with your pseudo-righteous self.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • KieranH

      "murdering liberals"?? batsh1t crazy conservative!! With a name like "atheist hunter", only an upstanding citizen you must be. Go hunt some squirrels and make a big old bucket of burgoo for yourself after hunting nutria all day and blasting around in your super-diesel dual-wheel hemi. Surely your pro-life a$$ will adopt all the pro-choice aborted fetuses to live in your hoarder trailer on welfare and foodstamps.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • sam stone

      How are your rights being violated A**H****?

      December 11, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • TommyTT

      Your argument resembles the bogus "War on Christianity." Right wingers try to impose their belief on others while suppressing dissent. Then, when the rest of us push back, they wrap themselves in victimhood. But nobody's buying it.

      December 11, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  11. Larry

    What's next? They offer special plates for veterans, how about a specialty plate for draft dodgers? Or since there's special plates for Purple Heart recipients, how about a special plate with a big yellow stripe for the ones who ran?

    OOhhh! I know! They have anti-child abuse plates, how about one with the image of Jerry Sandusky? That's equality as well. I'm sure NMBLA would buy them.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  12. LeeCMH

    Onward Christian soldiers,
    Marching right into war.
    With your bombs for Jesus,
    Killing on before.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Freedom of Reliigion

      One of my favorite bumper stickers: "Who would Jesus bomb?"

      I'd like think no one.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  13. Atheist Hunter

    Just further violation of rights of conservatives. If he had said pro choice or had been promoting planned parenthood it would have not been questioned. Just a bunch of murdering liberals trying to force their selfish opinions on conservatives. IMAGINE THAT!

    December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • NYOD

      You are the reason G8d would hate humans if he existed.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  14. Chris

    Political message aside, has anyone else noticed how butt-ugly that license plate is? It looks like it was designed by amateurs. Surely the "pro-life" group can come up with a better design.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • david

      Most states with the "Choose Life" plate are designed that way. That is part of the message.... children. It is SUPPOSED to look like a child's crayon drawing.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  15. Naota

    Actually – the alternative would be "Choose Death", not "Choice".

    I'll never understand why liberals love the thought of chopping up little babies. All I know, is that I won't let slime like that near me or my family.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Have you read the Bible? God loves infanticide.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Mirosal

      Gee I'll bet you have a lot of fun at your white-bred (or is that in-bred) church services!!!

      December 11, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • evil liberal

      Because that's what abortion is, Naota. It's waiting until the baby is full term, taking it out, and chopping it up. Now let's go ride our unicorns through the magical forest together!

      December 11, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • sam stone

      i love it when inbred fvcks cannot tell the difference between allowing somthing and "loving" it

      December 11, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Luke

      Yes, because the conditional surrounding the ideology of letting women chose for themselves is that you must get your kicks from murdering babies. You nailed it. What a thinker you are. You're going places.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Guy

      Naota, you must be living in one of them quality trailer parks with a security gate and a few bubba's lurking about to keep the slime out. Your home schooled offspring are going to have to become democrats when they grow up to keep the food stamps coming in. Too harsh, I don't think so, nipping bigotry and ignorance in the bud can only be a good thing.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • israel

      i bet you support the death penalty, some pro-lifer you are

      December 11, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • starrfish

      You’ve got to be a republican conservative from the south. Instead of getting all jacked up about chopping up babies, let’s all work together with the President and resolve the fiscal cliff issue. That’s what’s really important.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  16. Guy

    C'mon fundies, it is Ok to buy a plastic jesus and sweet madona and hang them from your gun rack in the back window of the pick up. everyone will get the message of where you are coming from. No need to get the state government involved and about the confederate flag......you lost, get over it.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  17. Peter Bishop

    The fantasy that the government remains neutral about anything is just that, a fantasy. If I get a plate exclaiming about saving dogs or a particular university, is not the government no longer "neutral" by printing that plate? That which was printed is merely an exercise in free speech. After all, it isn't like it is a swastika or god forbid, a confederate flag...

    December 11, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Alyssa

      Types of animals or schools are really contentious issues though are they? That's the issue here. You're comparing apples and oranges.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Southerner01

      They should make a plate that says "Dog, it isn't just for breakfast anymore". They could put it on the presidential limo.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • End Religion

      Just look at the Republitards in all their shining glory with the same stupid comment over and over. How embarrassing, except of course they're so fucking inept they probably don't realize their own stupidity. Amazing how they survived this long.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Southerner01

      End, nice pointless ad hominem. It's marginally better than "nanny nanny boo boo". Have you ever considered posting something that moves the debate forward, rather than just attacking the debators?

      December 11, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  18. Billy Joe Jim Bob

    What is North Carolinas next plate going to say ?
    Shoot Gays for Jesus ?
    Just slap a picture of Rick Santorum wearing the Popes hat,
    on the plate and get it over with.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Dlc

      You do know Rick Santorum is from South Carolina, not North Carolina

      December 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. David

    They should have campaignd the plate as a stand against suicide. Then there wouldn't have been a problem.
    Kind of like liberals calling Abortion "women's health" when it is actually the killing of innocent children.
    You have to play the bait and switch gem nowadays and the libs have got it down pat.

    December 11, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Larry

      You truly dont have any medical understanding of when life begins do you?

      December 11, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • sam stone

      too bad, davey.....you are having a little hissy fit

      December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Southerner01

      Larry, there is not universally agreed upon medically determined point at which a life begins. But feel free to let us know what you think the answer is.

      December 11, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • israel

      life begins when there is a heartbeat and brain function.....nothing more, nothing less....the 2 things required for living are a beating heart and a way to control it

      December 11, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  20. floyd schrodinger

    Put your religious views on a bumper sticker if you have to parade them on your vehicle. Government must remain neutral.

    December 11, 2012 at 6:59 am |
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