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RH Reality Check: Why the Big Disparity Between "Pro-Choice" And "Pro-Life" License Plates?

By Rachel Larris

“You might have missed it over the holidays, but Virginia drivers may soon be seeing a pro-choice license plate on the road. Planned Parenthood of Virginia is now offering Virginians the chance to pre-order a specialty license plate that says 'Trust Women, Trust Choice.' Specialty license plates are offered in Virginia and other states to help raise money for specific causes."

"Anti-choice groups have been particularly aggressive about getting approval of 'pro-life' specialty plates, while pro-choice groups have not."

"Janet Crepps is deputy director in the US Legal Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She also served as co-counsel in Hill v. Kemp, a case in Oklahoma where pro-choice advocates tried to block the sale of ‘Choose Life’ plates on First Amendment grounds because the state makes it difficult for motorists to obtain to obtain pro-choice specialty license plates.

Crepps speculated that part of the reason for the huge disparity is that anti-choice groups are possibly more motivated than pro-choice organizations to put out the specialty plates.

‘[Anti-choice groups] are aggressively trying to promote their views and just are more aggressive in doing pro-active legislation,’ Crepps said. ‘They see [specialty plates] as a direct means for obtaining funding for crisis pregnancies centers and opening and funding crisis pregnancy centers is a big motive for anti-choice organizations.’

Crepps said she doesn't think pro-choice organizations dismiss the idea of putting out specialty plates, but that the struggle in some states to get the plates in place may not be viewed as worth the cost.

‘You need to pick your battles,’ Crepps said. ‘If you looked to see what kind of pro-active legislation most pro-choice groups would want to pass they would probably focus on other things. I don't think [getting a] pro-choice plate has been the battle for most states.’

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