Is the "Choose Life" License Plate This Year's Voter ID?

Jul 1, 2013

One of the many last-minute bills being considered by the General Assembly would create a "Choose Life" license plate and fund free counseling meant to dissuade women from having abortions.

The passage of such legislation in the final 48 hours of the session would resemble the passage a few years ago of Voter ID -- a measure associated more with Republicans than the Democrats who rule on Smith Hill.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England has sent out an action alert, urging Rhode Islanders to oppose the "Choose Life" license plate. It reads in part: "Rather than spending scarce resources on political statements about abortion, the state of Rhode Island should invest in preventive reproductive health services and sex education.  Rhode Island can and should do better at preventing unintended pregnancy and funding reproductive health coverage for low income families."

If the "Choose Life" plate becomes law, 900 people would have to buy it for the process to go forward. If that happens, half of the $40 surcharge would go to an anti-abortion counseling service operated by the Knights of Columbus.

Barth Bracy, head of Rhode Island Right to Life, says Massachusetts and Connecticut have similar license plates, and that courts have upheld the right of private groups to raise money through license plates.

Still, one has to wonder why an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature is taking on such a proposal at the end of the legislative session. It's not a stretch to consider it a possible thank you to legislative opponents of same-sex marriage who weren't more obstinate during that debate earlier this session.