If the ACLU challenges a pro-life initiative in court, it must be fairly effective. The case involved pro-life groups printing Choose Life license plates for automobiles, in an effort to raise money for pro-life efforts. (The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case).
The low-key promotion of pro-life ideals started in the sunny state of Florida in 1996. Marion County commissioner Randy Harris was driving behind a vehicle with specialty license plates, and thought, everyone seems to have specialty plates, why not a pro-life specialty plate?
Pro-lifers got legislation passed in Florida for the plates the next year, but the then-governor vetoed the idea.
They kept pushing, and in 2000, legislation was successfully passed, and since then many other states have come on board with similar plates. A recent count shows that 691,035 plates have been sold or renewed nationally, and in addition to spreading the pro-life message, they have raised $14,760,099 for worthy pro-life causes, more than half of it in Florida.
Pennsylvania came on board in 2007, and since that time more than 2,000 plates have been sold; you may have spotted a couple on the highway.
Funds generated by the program are used for a specific purpose: to assist women with unplanned pregnancies who are intending to put the child up for adoption.
The initial cost of the plates is $40, part of which goes to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the rest to Choose Life Pennsylvania.
The Choose Life Pennsylvania web site contains a downloadable form that must be filled out and mailed back to them with the initial fee. At the time of one’s annual registration, the group asks that an additional $20 be paid to Choose Life to keep membership current.
“We give your money to a pregnancy center near you; we like to keep the money where it comes from,” said Mary Wurtz, who heads Choose Life Pennsylvania.
So far Pennsylvania’s results have been modest compared to the Florida program. That may change.
“We are starting a big push,” said Wurtz, who had been running the program part time, but is now doing it full time. “We are trying to get it into the parishes, and when we send people a letter about it, many do apply.”
For more information and application forms for Choose Life Pennsylvania specialty license plates, visit www.pachoose-life.org.