On Thursday, the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-NCLF) filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the state over the production of new anti-abortion license plates that read “Choose Life.” The ACLU argues that the production of these plates is “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination” and in direct violation of the First Amendment. According to the ACLU, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill approving production of “Choose Life” license plates but would not pass any of the six proposed amendments to create a plate supporting abortion rights, such as the “Trust Women. Respect Choice” or the “Respect Choice” plates.
Katherine Lewis Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU-NCLF, stated, “This is a basic issue of freedom of speech and fairness. It is a fundamental tenet of the First Amendment that the State cannot use its authority to promote one side of a debate while denying the same opportunity to the other side. Anyone who supports freedom of speech should agree with this stance, regardless of one’s position on abortion.”
Non- profit pregnancy counseling centers will receive $15 for every plate sold.The ACLU is also filing to temporarily halt plate production until the lawsuit is decided.
American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Press Release 9/8/11; News & Record, Greensboro, North Carolina 9/8/11