September 1, 2004

Pro-Life Groups Granted Intervention To Defend Arkansas "Choose Life" License Plates


Fayetteville, AR -- Federal Judge Harry Barnes granted Liberty Counsel's request for intervention on behalf of several pro-life groups seeking to defend the Arkansas "Choose Life" license plates. The lawsuit, which was filed by a pro-abortion advocate, challenges the Choose Life Statute, along with the entire system of authorizing specialty and vanity license plates. Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, and Rena Lindevaldsen, Senior Litigation Counsel, represent Hannah Medical Center, Life Choices, Inc. (both crisis pregnancy centers), Rose Mimms and Debora Griffin (both of whom purchased the plate). The Arkansas "Choose Life" license plate represents an expression of the state's longstanding preference for childbirth over abortion and is a valid exercise of government speech. Under the Choose Life Statute, anyone who purchases a "Choose Life" plate pays an additional fee to obtain the plate. Those funds are then used to support local crisis pregnancy centers, with the express condition that no funds may go to an entity that provides, promotes, or refers for abortion. Arkansas authorizes more than fifty specialty plates, many of which contain private expression.

Last year, after being granted intervention, Liberty Counsel successfully defended Florida's "Choose Life" license plate. In the case of Women's Emergency Network v. Bush, the federal court of appeals upheld Florida's "Choose Life" license plates, which have now generated over $2 million in private funds to promote adoption. Being granted intervention status means that Liberty Counsel will be accorded party status and will be able to actively develop and implement litigation strategy to defend the Arkansas law at every stage of the litigation. Staver commented, "We are pleased that the court granted our intervention request. Now we will go toe-to-toe with the radical abortion advocates who seek to trash the 'Choose Life' license plates." Staver also noted: "If those who call themselves 'pro-choice' were genuinely concerned about the best interests of women and children, they would welcome a pro-adoption message. Their actions betray their rhetoric." Staver concluded: "An abortion advocate filed this lawsuit because she does not like the pro-adoption message of the 'Choose Life' license plate. Perhaps she should apply for an abortion-friendly license plate that reads: "'Choose Death.'"

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Take A Stand For Marriage

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) during the week of September 20. The FMA would amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. A constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House, then ratification by three-fourths of the states. We are still collecting signatures for our online Petition to Congress to show support for the FMA.

Read the Action Items on our web site to see what you can do to help preserve traditional marriage. Make sure you are registered to vote. The November elections will be a critical time for this nation. The outcome will directly impact the future of marriage in America. Go to our "Register to Vote" link. Select your state from the list and click "Go." You will be able to register to vote in your state by following the instructions. No matter how strongly you feel about marriage, your opinion won't count unless you vote.

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