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June 18th, 2013

Pro-lifers Celebrate Arrival of “Choose Life” Plates in Iowa

For the first time in state history, pro-life Iowans can promote their message on car license plates. Following a decade-long effort spearheaded by Iowa Right to Life, the new “Choose Life” license plates debuted in the state on Monday. They are available at your county treasurer’s office.

“We are thrilled the pro-life citizens across the state are finally able to proudly proclaim their love for life by displaying a ‘Choose Life’ license plate, said IRTL President Marlys Popma. “People have been able to share their love for their college, for Ducks Unlimited, and even for amateur radio.  It is long past due that we can now proudly display our love for life!”

Conservative activist Jim Carley was one of the first Iowans to pick up the new plates. They cost $25 more than regular plates the first year. An additional $5 is added for each year thereafter. Carley believes that extra money is a wise investment.

“If all those that support life would spend the cost of one night out, we could flood the state with the ‘Choose Life’ message on a daily basis and show everyone just how strong the pro-life movement is,” Carley said.

Iowa Right to Life successfully collected more than 500 applications in one year from Iowans requesting the plates. That was the threshold required by the Iowa Department of Transportation to officially produce the plates. IRTL could not have achieved the goal without a huge grassroots effort.

“Several months ago I started volunteering with the Iowa Right to Life Committee,” Carley said. “I am calling on and coordinating with churches in eastern Polk County and western Jasper County to spread the word and activate more support for the future babies of Iowa. Babies are the creation of God and the most precious gift He can give us, the gift of life.”

Governor Branstad also played an instrumental role in helping to get the plates approved.

“Years ago, efforts were made in the legislature to pass it there,” said IRTL Executive Director Jenifer Bowen. “Stymied on multiple occasions, the project lay dormant for a few years, as we have focused our legislative energy toward late-term abortions ending, halting webcam abortions in the state in which they began, defunding the abortion industry, and more. A year ago we were made aware of another way to accomplish this and we did it!”

Iowa is the 29th state to adopt some form of pro-life license plates. However, the “Choose Life” plates ran into legal hurdles in North Carolina. A federal judge, responding to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, ruled the pro-life plates unconstitutional because the state did not offer abortion advocates the same opportunity. The state is appealing the ruling.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has declined several interview requests from various media regarding the “Choose Life” plates. Iowa Right to Life is not supporting the plates as a way to create controversy or conflict. Instead, they are hoping the plates help win over hearts and minds.

“We are hopeful that they will serve as a gentle, non-confrontational message to women and men across Iowa that may be wrestling through the hardest decisions of their lives,” Bowen said.

The new “Choose Life” license plates are available by clicking here.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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