Choose Life Plates On Sale and ACLU Won't Challenge This One

Published: Aug. 18, 2003 at 9:38 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2003 at 2:42 PM CDT
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They're refusing to be silenced. A pro-life group has found a new way to express their freedom of spech - after a federal judge silenced the alternative. Remember that ban on specialty license plates? A division of the Knights of Columbus, called the Knights for Life, have found a way to get around it. WAFB's Jennifer Hale has the story.

"It's beautiful - it's really beautiful." It is the new scheme pro-life forces have devised to get around a court order blocking them , and everyone else, from having specialty license plates. The Knights of Columbus is now selling "Choose Life" plates for the fronts of cars. Ed Jeanfreau said, "My goal is to have 20-30-thousand of these plates on automobiles."

Earlier this year, Louisaina began issuing a "Choose Life" plate for the backs of cars that also served as a regular license plate. But the ACLU challenged it in court and a federal judge ended up ruling it and the state's other 176 specialty plates unconstitutional. Jeanfreau said, "It's the best thing to ever happen to us because now we'll all stand up and be counted." Jeanfreu says instead of discouraging them, the judge's ban is firing up anti-abortion forces more than ever. He spent the day delivering plates to places like the Catholic Life Center, that will send ordering information to every member of the church. Julie Orr works at the Catholic Life Center, "I think Baton Rouge is definitely pro-life and people will be glad to put these on their cars."

Interestingly enough, the ACLU didn't challenge this plate. A spokesman says it's a constitutional way to express freedom of speech as long as its on the front of cars - not the back. All proceeds from the $15 dollar plate and the $10 frame will go toward supporting programs offering alternatives to abortion.

If you have a specilaty plate now - including the first version of the "Choose Life" plate or an LSU or Southern plate- you don't have to turn it back in. But you likely won't be able to renew it next year unless state lawmakers re-draft the law about specialty license plates.