‘Choose Life’ license plate edges closer to reality

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — A plan to offer a “Choose Life” license plate to raise money for “life affirming programs and projects” will soon head to Gov. Rick Snyder after passing the House on Thursday.

The Republican-controlled House approved the plan 65-43 after the Senate adopted the measure 25-11. It’s now headed back to the Senate for a final confirmation vote before it will be sent to Snyder for his consideration.

The legislation has been endorsed by the anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan, and supporters say the plate would raise money to help women who give birth to unplanned babies. But Democratic opponents said it is part of a longtime GOP plan to stop legal abortion.

The legislation would require the Michigan Secretary of State’s office to create a “Choose Life” specialty fund-raising license plate by June, which would raise money that would be set aside in a new fund for which Right to Life of Michigan would decide disbursements.

It would join Michigan’s 29 other specialty license plates that raise money for public universities, the Boy Scouts of America, breast cancer awareness, military veterans and other causes.

The plate would cost $35 and a standard $10 fee for a new plate. It could be used for crisis pregnancy centers and support organizations that advise women against abortion and could include media campaigns directed toward women deemed at-risk of unplanned pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and treats sexually transmitted diseases, opposed it along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

The ACLU has argued that it signifies “viewpoint discrimination” because it gives preference to pro-life but not pro-choice groups.

Democrats’ proposed amendments failed, including one to direct the money toward reducing infant mortality rates.