Tennessee Anti-abortion Plates Put on Hold


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A federal appeals court delayed Tennessee’s production of an anti-choice specialty license plate while the ACLU seeks U.S. Supreme Court review of a ruling upholding the plate as constitutional.

“Tennessee must ensure that all residents can express their views equally,” said Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “The state cannot be in the business of limiting some speech while allowing other speech.”

The legislature twice rejected an amendment that would have authorized a “Pro-Choice” specialty plate. The law in question makes a “Choose Life” license plate available to motorists for an annual fee of $35 over and above the basic cost of registering a car in the state. Fifty percent of all funds raised, after expenses, would go to a private anti-choice organization called New Life Resources.

In March, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the ACLU and ruled that the anti-choice plate did not violate free speech rights. Earlier this month, the ACLU announced that it would appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and also asked the federal appeals court to postpone Tennessee’s production of the plate while the appeal is under consideration.


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