"Choose Life" License Plate for NJ Sparks New Controversy

By Brian Thompson
|  Friday, Dec 10, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 PM EDT
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"Choose Life" License Plate for NJ Sparks New Controversy

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New Jersey has ended more than six years of litigation and agreed to allow a New York-based organization called the Children First Foundation to market personalized license plates that will carry  the slogan 'Choose Life.'

But it may spark a battle over advocacy license plates with groups such as Planned Parenthood.

"I think that we would look to also take advantage if this is the state's policy and now we can have advocacy license plates," said Michele Jaker of Planned Parenthood of New Jersey.

"It's a pro-adoption plate," said Dr. Elizabeth Rex of the Children First Foundation while noting some 25 other states allow the sale of them, with roughly $20 per plate going to her and similar organizations.

The money her group collects will be distributed to more than 60 pregnancy crisis centers across New Jersey that try to steer women away from abortion.

Dr. Rex won a legal battle in Connecticut to market the plates there, and has a suit similar to the one she brought in New Jersey still pending in New York.

New Jersey agreed to allow her group to market the plates "rather than continue with legal expenses," said Division of Motor Vehicles Spokesman Mike Horan.

But the assumption by Planned Parenthood that this opens up the issue to other advocacy causes is not an automatic with the state.

"We'll take it on a case by case basis," Horan said.

Dr. Rex of Children First said she would welcome a Planned Parenthood plate.

"It's a public forum," she noted while adding "There are opposing plates in other states, such as Hawai'i and Montana."

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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