Rhode Island Governor Vetoes 'Choose Life' License Plates

Rhode Island Governor Vetoes 'Choose Life' License Plates


Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have authorized the issuance of license plates that say "Choose Life" to raise money for a Christian crisis pregnancy center that opposes abortion, Fox News reports. Abortion rights supporters had urged Chafee to veto the bill, which passed the Democrat-controlled General Assembly shortly before lawmakers adjourned for the year. Twenty-nine states have similar plates, which sometimes feature children's images. Chafee wrote to lawmakers in his veto message that the function of a license plate is "to register and identify a motor vehicle. ... It is my belief that state participation in the transmission of funds to this organization would violate the separation of church and state, one of the fundamental principles upon which our state was founded." Half of each plate's $40 issuance cost would have gone toward CareNet Pregnancy Center of Rhode Island, a Providence-based organization that offers free pregnancy testing, post-abortion counseling and information about abortion alternatives. CareNet describes itself on its website as a Christian organization with a mission "to support women facing unplanned pregnancies by offering them real choices." Barth Bracy, executive director of Right to Life of Rhode Island, said: "The 'Choose Life' plate is already available in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Governor Chafee's veto reveals an extremism on abortion ... that is grossly out of step with other New England Democrats." Lawmakers in Rhode Island could attempt to override the veto any time before the start of the next session in January, but such a move is considered unlikely.

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