Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed legislation Monday that will enable the sale of a “Choose Life” license plate in the state. According to the Washington Post, $15 of the $25 fee for the license plates will go towards funding crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs pose as legitimate health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. They are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals.
In a press release, Governor Kaine defended his decision: “I sign this legislation today in keeping with the Commonwealth’s longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages. Furthermore, if Planned Parenthood–an organization that is already a recipient of state budget funds–or another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty license plate in Virginia, I believe the Constitution would require the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint discrimination.”
NARAL Pro Choice America released a statement from National President Nancy Keenan and Virginia NARAL President Tarina Keene. Both leaders said “the revenue from the ‘Choose Life’ plates would go to many CPCs that use deceptive, intimidating, and emotionally manipulative tactics to block women from learning the facts about, or choosing, legal abortion…No pro-choice license plate would make that right.”
Virginia NOW released a statement that they are outraged by Governor Kaine’s shameful decision to allow ‘Choose Life’ license plates to be sold by the state. His rationale in today’s press release basically, there are lots of message license plates out there, this is just one more ignores women’s health and safety. It also insults us by suggesting that the remedy is for pro-choice supporters to get their own license plate. Virginia NOW does not think that license plates are the place to debate this sensitive personal issue.”