In a unanimous decision in February 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that North Carolina’s “Choose Life” license plates are unconstitutional because the state refused to offer alternative, pro-choice license plates.
In 2011, North Carolina lawmakers approved “Choose Life” license plates as one of 80 specialty plates to be offered by the state. Each “Choose Life” plate would cost $25, with $15 of the proceeds going into the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, an association of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.
But while the General Assembly approved the “Choose Life” plates, it rejected proposals to offer license plates with alternative messages such as “Respect Choice” and “Trust Women.” The decision to not offer a specialty plate, the Fourth Circuit concluded, constituted “blatant viewpoint discrimination squarely at odds with the First Amendment.”
Extreme lawmakers who campaigned on improving education and turning around the economy instead spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting to keep a clearly unconstitutional vanity license plate. Their priorities are out of touch with the majority of North Carolinians who trust women to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
For more on candidates who trust women, check out our custom NARAL Pro-Choice NC Voters’ Guide.