Debates continues over 'Choose Life' license plates - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Debates continues over 'Choose Life' license plates

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PROVIDENCE -

Drivers can have their pick of license plates in Rhode Island, including vanity plates supporting the Red Sox, Plum Beach Lighthouse and cancer research.

Those are all pretty neutral causes.

The House and the Senate approved a "Choose Life" anti-abortion license plate this week, but it wasn't enough to end the debate.

Officials at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England want Gov. Lincoln Chafee to veto the plates.

"Our feeling is if we're going to use a motor vehicle for a way to get the message out, bumper stickers are a perfectly good way of doing that. But if you're looking for a license plate that is actually sponsored by the state, you're actually trying for a different kind of political statement by getting the state involved," said Susan Yolen of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

But lawmakers who voted on it and Rhode Island Right to Life said they hope the governor stays out of it.

"If you don't want it, don't buy it. Nobody's forcing you to buy this. It's your decision. Again, it's your choice," said state Rep. Doreen Costa, who represents Exeter and North Kingstown.

More than 29 states offer "Choose Life" plates, including Massachusetts and Connecticut. Supporters want Rhode Island drivers to decide if the plates hit the road.

If 900 people order the license plate, the money raised will help CareNet Pregnancy Center of Rhode Island. CareNet would get half of the $40 drivers will spend on the plates.

The faith-based group said it would use the money to help women who go through with their pregnancies. It provides parenting classes, counseling and goods, including diapers, formula and other necessities to new mothers.

A spokeswoman said it also offers counseling for women who choose to abort.

Chafee said he is "very concerned" about legislation to authorize a "Choose Life" license plate.

The Democratic governor stopped short of vowing to veto the measure, but said Wednesday that he's opposed to using state license plates to support a religious organization.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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