Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Choose Life" License Plates get Green Light in New Jersey


I grabbed this article out of the Newark Catholic Advocate. This is very good news - and a wonderful way to express our "Pro-Life" attitude!

Advocacy plates get green light to display ‘Life’ message in NJ

BY WARD MIELE
Managing Editor

AREA - "we did it!"

That was the reaction of an exuberant Elizabeth Rex, Ph.D., president of The Children First Foundation (CFF) to approval Dec. 8 by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) of “Choose Life” license plates.

New Jersey is the 26th state to approve the specialty plates. It joins Massachusetts, Delaware and North Dakota in doing so this year. CFF first began seeking approval of the plates in the Garden State in 2002.

Last summer Rex declared prophetically “we’re getting closer, we’ll never give up”
(see The Catholic Advocate, July 14). She described CFF at the time as an organization that actively promotes and supports adoption as “a positive choice” for women facing unwanted pregnancies.

Rex, who is Catholic, and her husband, Charles, founded CFF almost a decade ago. They are the adoptive parents of two children who joined the family after their first child was born. CFF is the official sponsor of the “Choose Life” plates. The group’s tri-state headquarters is in Eastchester, NY.

“The ‘Choose Life’ license plate program is so much more than a ‘traveling billboard’ to promote adoption and safe haven programs in the Garden State and raise awareness about the positive,” Archbishop John J. Myers, a staunch supporter of the CFF effort, said. “At this particular time in New Jersey’s economic history, such a private/public partnership is truly welcome and truly needed. As women in crisis face the challenge of bearing and raising a child in difficult times, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate program can help offer them a viable and life-sustaining alternative for them and their unborn or newborn children.”

Rex expressed gratitude for the solid backing of both Archbishop Myers and the Trenton-based New Jersey Catholic Conference. She cited too the attorneys of the Alliance Defense Fund headquartered in Washington, D.C.

“Choose Life” license plates are not available through NJMVC offices but rather must be ordered through CFF. That can be done by calling (888) 652-4667 (888-NJChooseLife) or by visiting the group’s Web site (NJChoose-Life.org).

Funding for the “Choose Life” plates comes primarily from the annual $25 tax-deductible CFF membership donation. Locally $20 is earmarked for 66 pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and non-profit safe haven programs throughout New Jersey. The remaining $5 is used to cover administrative costs and legal expenses. Since 2000, according to CFF, over $13 million has been raised to help pregnant women “choose life.”

A setback in the eight year struggle to get the plates on New Jersey roads occurred several years ago when the “Choose Life” plate had reached the manufacturing phase when it was abruptly rejected by lawmakers in Trenton. That promoted a CFF federal lawsuit in 2004. CFF was told at the time, Rex explained, that slogans and advocacy messages cannot be put on the state’s license plates. She saw Trenton’s thumbs down at the time as “government censorship and discrimination.”

The latest round on the legal front came last spring when CFF’s federal lawsuit was revived by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. A three judge panel reinstated the case on the grounds that the state’s decision may have amounted to “viewpoint discrimination.”

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