"Choose Life" license tag gets tentative nod from Kansas House.
April 8, 2002 10:48 PM   Subscribe

"Choose Life" license tag gets tentative nod from Kansas House. You pay an extra $25 for the tag when you register (hopefully it's optional), and the money goes to "crisis preganancy centers." Isn't this a bizarre, and rather vague, way to advance the cause?
posted by bingo (23 comments total)
Florida's Choose Life license plate has been controversial since it was released in August, 2000. One person I know had stickers printed with crayon-style coathangers on a yellow background so that he could stick them on people's plates over the crayon-style children's faces.

What bothers me most about the Kansas initiative is that
"The House killed an amendment that would have allowed an abortion-rights license plate, with the money going to Planned Parenthood for pregnancy prevention programs."

They say it's not a political statement, but it is.
posted by stevis at 11:02 PM on April 8, 2002

'Choose Life' license tag?? No problem!!

Everyone has the right to express their own opinion... To bad (and I'd like to think slightly illegal) that they killed the abortion rights license plate.

I'd love to see a license plate that said 'I choose more than just my senator'...
posted by matty at 11:29 PM on April 8, 2002

Isn't this a bizarre, and rather vague, way to advance the cause?

I get the mental image of a license plate with little photos on them of George Michael and Andrew Ridgely circa 1984.

I don't really have any problems with the plates themselves. I think it makes the owner look like an obsessive, single-issue freak, but hey, if that's the impression you want to give off to everyone that drives past you, go right ahead. It does appear to "advance the cause" to some extent; most of those crisis pregnancy centers operate on real shoestring budgets, so $800K isn't anything to sneeze at. And having it go to those centers is a lot different from having the money go straight into the pockets of professional anti-abortion protesters. But really, though, in the end this is all about certain drivers' desires to get off on being holier-than-thou (in their own minds, at least), nothing more.

I do have at least a slight problem with the general unfairness of it, that the Choose Life plates might get approval but the abortion rights plate won't. But it's not that much of a problem to me; politics is politics, and I'm sure that if the Kansas Legislature were more Democrat-leaning instead of GOP-leaning, we'd be reading a mirror image of this article right now.

Besides, neither side will let me have a Cthulhu plate, so screw 'em all.
posted by aaron at 11:57 PM on April 8, 2002

It's Kansas. Kansas is one of those embarrassing places people move away from.

[Though I knew a woman from Pawnee Rock who was no embarrassment to anyone.]
posted by pracowity at 12:01 AM on April 9, 2002

Solution: end government licensing of private vehicular property?

Ohh, wouldn't want to do something risky, so instead let's let government manage everybody's stuff and have the moralists on all sides fight for the power to tell people how to live their lives.

Maybe it's a free speech issue. However, if people want to support life, they can get a bumpersticker, and the same goes for abortion. The only reason this argument exists is because government control of roads, and thus the subsequent need of government to control what goes on those roads, down to what is written on the state-issued license plates.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:24 AM on April 9, 2002

damn. i saw this and i immediately thought trainspotting, not abortion. choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family, choose a fuckin' big television...
posted by gelatinouscitizen at 1:07 AM on April 9, 2002

I agree with stevis completely. It makes more sense to generate money for Planned Parenthood ("planned" being the operative word here) in order to help prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

But what I really want to know is what the hell does this have to do with license plates? I don't understand. And if one group can make $$ off of state-issued license plates, why not other groups? How is this being decided? And how can they claim it's not political? And do convicts really make license plates?
posted by gutenberg at 1:59 AM on April 9, 2002

me, too.
track 1 on the trainspotting2 snd trk ='choose life'
can i have that in my state and put orange trims around it?
...choose washing machines cars compact disc players and electrical tin openers...
posted by elle at 2:04 AM on April 9, 2002

Me too, aaron...my first thought upon hearing the words "Choose Life" is the great song from Wham! (or was it Wham! UK when it was released?). A bit sad that the religious right has nearly succeeded in entirely co-opting such a simple expression as Choose Life. I nearly included that tag-line on my website, but figured that most visitors would assume I was a christian zealot in the Falwell/Robertson sense.
posted by davidmsc at 2:47 AM on April 9, 2002

I thought of Trainspotting too, and almost mentioned it in the post. I think that to want this license plate, you would have to be so obsessed with the abortion debate that you'd assume everyone on the street could only make that one association with the phrase "choose life."
posted by bingo at 3:02 AM on April 9, 2002

I want a "Choose Death" bumper sticker. Just to tick off any anti-abortionists who get stuck behind me in traffic. But I live in Texas and not Kansas. I'd probably just get my head shot off.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:12 AM on April 9, 2002

i'm not pro-choice. i'm anti-life. where's my plate?
posted by jcterminal at 4:26 AM on April 9, 2002

I think "Chews Life" might cause some interesting little throbs in their heads. Whole ear, then thou.
posted by pracowity at 4:28 AM on April 9, 2002

I'm staggered that state governments don't have more important stuff to do - I agree with insomnyuk if you want to express your opinion buy a sticker for yer bumper!

What's wrong with vanilla licence plates that just show the car registration number - that's all we have in the UK/Europe (sometimes you get a small tag id - of the company/make of where you bought the plate or a Euro/country Flag but all this is additional information not the opinion of owner).

If I was going to buy a car and it had some doggy plate I'd be a bit put off as I know I'd be too lazy to get round to changing it). Anyway a licence plate is a functional item designed to enable vehicle to be registered/licensed for tracing purposes. Does it need to do anything else?
posted by roobarb at 5:38 AM on April 9, 2002

Another subtle, but annoying thing about the Florida "Choose Life" tag is its color-scheme. It features black letters on a yellow field. This is the same scheme that state vehicles use. I am convinced this is not a coincidence--it is as if the message on the novelty plate has the tacit endorsement of the governement. At least, moreso than any of the dozens of others. Still, the best answer is to end all of these vanity plates, but that seems unlikely given how all these pet causes have gotten use to sucking from this teat (to the tune of $20.1 million in 2000). And there are so many more that want to pucker up.
posted by piskycritters at 5:50 AM on April 9, 2002

In many states, any organisation which wishes to have a special plate for its supporters or members need only petition the state government for that right. In Pennsylvania, we have plates that support our major zoos, the DARE program and historic railroads, and plates which denote the car owner as any number of things, from square and round dancers to equestrians to alumni of any number of colleges, some out of state. There are also, of course, personalised tags. They are purely optional, and one only needs purchase one if one wishes to use their vehicle as a vehicle for the ideals and opinions.

That said, the article is fairly uninformative (not to mention, seemingly edited by someone whose previous experience was on a high school newspaper) as to whether the pro-choice plate amendment was struck down because of strict politics, or if it was because Planned Parenthood had made no provision as to what aspect of the operations would be funded through plate revenues or if the organisation had made no request for a plate in their honour, which is the typical and therefore the plate idea was struck for procedural reasons. We're really bereft of enough data to judge the decision at all.
posted by Dreama at 5:55 AM on April 9, 2002

"Isn't this a bizarre, and rather vague, way to advance the cause?"

No more bizarre than allowing other groups the same option. I have pro-conservationists advertise their cause in this same exact manner.
posted by Oxydude at 6:06 AM on April 9, 2002

I have pro-conservationists advertise their cause...

Maybe we can get some "Choose Logging" or "Choose Oil Spills" tags to counter that horrible trend..
posted by eas98 at 7:45 AM on April 9, 2002

And if one group can make $$ off of state-issued license plates, why not other groups? How is this being decided?

Other groups can have their own plates in Florida. I have a Jaguars license plate. To create a new plate, a group must fork over $60,000, pay for a sample survey that shows 15,000 people would buy the plate and fulfill other requirements.

These plates raise a lot of money for charitable groups. Florida's Save the Manatee plate has raised $27 million for relief efforts to save these bizarre sea cows, who frequently get mowed down by speedboats.
posted by rcade at 7:52 AM on April 9, 2002

While we're at it, guess who was on our campus today.... (WARNING: graphic images)... The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and their GAP program.

Text for those who don't want to go there:

The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) is a traveling photo-mural exhibit which compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide. Its purpose is to make it as difficult as possible for people to deny that abortion is an act of violence which kills a baby. GAP is not aimed at a particular organization or event. We go where large numbers of people gather because they will not come to us.

It is our policy to treat everyone who approaches our display with respect. We do not yell or use amplified sound. CBR holds staff and volunteers to strict rules of engagement. We know that the images we display are not pleasant. They represent injustice of such magnitude that words alone cannot adequately convey their evil. Until injustice is recognized, however, it cannot be eradicated.

By placing abortion images alongside traditionally recognized forms of genocide we are expanding the context in which people think about abortion. Throughout history, we as a society have a sad legacy of dehumanizing those who get in our way or have something we want. Once a people group is dehumanized, it is very easy to justify their mistreatment and destruction. Such is the current plight of the unborn child.

While CBR realizes that each form of genocide differs from the next in terms of method and motivation, there are more than enough similarities to merit our comparisons. Here's why.

I wanted to post a link to this on the front page and discuss, but I knew it would cause too much of a stir.
posted by tomplus2 at 8:16 AM on April 9, 2002

I find it very odd that the state would approve of a cause whose goal it is to overturn a federal law. I serously doubt we'd see a "Legalize It!" plate or a "Close Our Borders to All the Damn Foreigners!" plate.

I'm so happy that I don't live in Kansas.
posted by Down10 at 10:16 AM on April 9, 2002

No more bizarre than allowing other groups the same option.

Exactly. It's bizarre anyway. Although the ambiguous "choose life" message might make this one a bit weirder.
posted by bingo at 10:27 AM on April 9, 2002

"I find it very odd that the state would approve of a cause whose goal it is to overturn a federal law."

Slavery was legal at one time. The mere existence of a law does not mean it is a just one.
posted by Oxydude at 11:34 AM on April 9, 2002

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