ACLU Sues N.C. Over 'Choose Life' Plates, Asks for 'Respect Choice' Plates

September 9, 2011 — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit asking the state to issue a specialty license plate that "supports a woman's right to reproductive freedom," WTVD reports.

The state General Assembly passed a measure last session that authorized a license plate with the message "Choose Life" but rejected proposals for plates with messages supporting abortion rights. ACLU of North Carolina is proposing that the state adopt a new plate that says either "Trust Women. Respect Choice" or "Respect Choice."

Katherine Lewis Parker, legal director of the ACLU North Carolina Legal Foundation, said, "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" (WTVD, 9/8).

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order to stop production of the new plates until the case is resolved. For each plate sold, $15 goes to not-for-profit pregnancy counseling centers that oppose abortion (Breen, AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/8).