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).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.