Chafee should sign 'Choose Life' license plate bill

Chafee should sign 'Choose Life' license plate bill

On July 2, in a rare show of unity, Rhode Island legislators found common ground and approved the issuance of a pro-adoption "Rhode Island Choose Life" license plate. The preliminary vote was 40 to 26 in the House and 23 to 13 in the Senate, with the final vote taken in the House July 2.

I respectfully encourage Gov. Lincoln Chafee to sign this bi-partisan bill and to proudly add Rhode Island as the 30th state to offer a specialty plate that raises greater public awareness, understanding and support for the positive choices of adoption and safe havens.

While abortion rights supporters are urging Gov. Chafee to veto the bill by claiming that "the state should not inject itself into the emotional and contentious debate surrounding abortion," an important question needs to be asked: Aren't these abortion rights activists the very same ones who have been constantly demanding that Rhode Island politicians unconditionally support and expand taxpayer-funded contraception and abortion rights and services day in and day out for literally decades?

To the surprise and shock of many "pro-choice" legislators, several aggressive abortion rights organizations, including Planned Parenthood, that have never had any problem injecting their "emotional and contentious" abortion rights agenda upon the legislators and the taxpayers of Rhode Island, suddenly have a huge problem with "pro-choice" legislators who dare to show their support for two positive alternative choices - adoption and safe havens - as proposed in the Choose Life plate bill.

Gov. Chafee is not the only "pro-choice" governor who has had to face brutal opposition and political attacks from so-called "pro-choice" organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America for supporting the approval of a pro-adoption Choose Life license plate.

In March 2009, then-Governor Tim Kaine (D-VA), who had recently been nominated by President Obama to chair the Democratic National Committee, also had to choose whether to sign - or to veto - a Choose Life plate bill that had just been approved with bi-partisan support by the legislature in Virginia.

Even though abortion-rights opposition to Virginia's bill was fierce, Gov. Kaine decided, quite unexpectedly, to sign it. The Washington Post reported that the governor "considers such license plate messages a matter of free speech and added that the move was 'in keeping with the Commonwealth's longtime practice of approving specialty plates with all manner of political and social messages.'"

Governor Kaine himself added, "If Planned Parenthood... or another similar organization ever chooses to seek a specialty license plate in Virginia, I believe the constitution would require the state to approve that plate to protect against any viewpoint discrimination." He concluded, "It's all about choice."

Gov. Chafee has an important choice to make: Will he, too, support free speech or impose government censorship?

Ultimately, is Gov. Chafee really "pro-choice" or is he just "pro-abortion"?

Michael Krzywonos

Pawtucket