A couple of years ago I got the call: "They're on sale NOW. Go get yours before anything happens."
I jumped in the car and rushed down to the tag office where I bought 3 Choose Life tags. I talked to the office's head honcho and asked him what the chances were that opposing forces would be able to get an injunction and my tags. He said, "Once these things are on cars, I'd say the chances are pretty much nil."
But abortion supporting groups (including the National Organization for Women a.k.a. N.O.W.) sought to shut these tags down and have them all recalled. I dared anyone to tell me what I could or could not display on my car.
I'm a butt, so I immediately snail-mailed the NOW a picture of the backs of my three cars all lined up in the driveway with shimmering yellow Choose Life tags. On the front was the bold caption: "How ya like me N.O.W.?" I also emailed them and said, "Hey, I'm a woman and I want this tag on my car. Why are you trying to take away my choice?" Surprisingly they wrote back: "We support your right to go out and get a bumper sticker saying whatever you want it to say." I wrote back: "You say it's OK for me to sport a bumper sticker but not a license plate. Since when do you get to decide HOW I am allowed to convey a message on my own vehicle? I have a new car. I don't want a tacky bumper sticker plastered on the back of it." The NOW representative wrote back: "I can't argue with that."
But argue they did, under the representation of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. At one point they claimed that the phrase "Choose Life" was a Biblical quote, and for the state to authorize a plate with a Biblical quote was a violation of the separation of church and state. Gimme a break. It's two words. You could take "in the" out of the Bible too, but that doesn't make it a Biblical phrase. When the argument didn't work, they tried something else.
The next phase was to accuse the state of violating the First Amendment (freedom of speech). This was even more ridiculous than the first argument. The abortion advocates said that because only one side of the debate was represented by a specialty tag, the state was only supporting one message. This, as the argument went, somehow prevented abortion supporters from being heard. But here's the kicker: abortion advocates never even tried to get their own "Choose Choice" tag! (Or perhaps they tried and didn't have enough public support to get the thing off the ground. Most people are kind of wishy washy about abortion. Of the ones who support it, many feel it's just this hushed necessary evil that they'd rather personally forget about, but it's not something they're going to go out and have a parade-or a special tag-over.)
In addition to demanding that the tag violated freedom of speech, abortion groups also sought to receive funds generated from the sale of the tag. "I hate the tag, but give me the money it makes." Time and time again, their case against the tag has been rejected, but they keep appealing and guess who has to keep paying for all the lawsuits? The state of Florida. And you can guess where that money comes from.
Up, up, up the argument went, all the way to the Federal Appeals Court in "Hotlanta" (Atlanta, GA), but the 11th Circuit rejected the abortion supporters' arguments. It also schooled the abortion supporters on the First Amendment by basically saying states only have to protect the speech of those who wish to speak. They also threw in a lovely little zinger that makes me snicker every time I read it:
"The First Amendment protects the right to speak; it does not give Appellants the right to stop others with opposing viewpoints from speaking."
Leave it to abortion supporters to use freedom of speech to try and imprison speech. None of us should be surprised. When you're getting away with murder every other day of the week, pushing the envelope of reason is just par for the course.
Way to go, Russ! Keep up the good work you do for women and families!