A bill that would allow Wisconsin residents to order anti-choice “Choose Life” license plates for their vehicles, with part of the fee from each plate going to an anti-choice organization in the state, was passed by a senate committee on Thursday.
AB 206 was passed by the state assembly in November in a 54-38 vote, mostly along partisan lines, with one Democrat joining Republicans in support of the bill. The same legislation was introduced during the 2011 legislative session, but was not passed.
In addition to the annual $75 registration fee and a $15 special plate fee for getting one of the “Choose Life” plates, another $25 fee would be imposed that would be contributed to a group called Choose Life Wisconsin, Inc., which currently exists only on paper. According to Pro-Life Wisconsin, the organization will disburse the proceeds from the sale of the plates to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) throughout the state.
CPCs have come under scrutiny for providing biased and medically incorrect information about reproductive health care, including abortion, and using shaming and other coercive tactics to prevent women from seeking an abortion.
Similar “Choose Life” license plate legislation has been introduced in several state legislatures in recent years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the custom anti-choice license plates are currently available in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Eighteen of those states donate proceeds from the license plates to CPCs or organizations that promote adoption. In Texas, “Choose Life” license plates have raised $43,000 for 13 CPCs in the state.
This year the license plates have faced legal challenges. A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that North Carolina’s “Choose Life” license plates were unconstitutional because the state did not offer a pro-choice license plate alternative.