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Choose Life License Plate Vetoed In Michigan

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Michigan's governor has vetoed a bill that would allow state residents to display their opposition to abortion on their license plates.

Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would create a "Choose Life" license plate to raise money for an anti-abortion group, Right to Life of Michigan, WEMU reports.

Snyder, a Republican, said in his veto letter that he would not support the bill because the license plates created a divisive political message.

“And that, in my view, is not appropriate for a state-issued license plate," wrote Snyder, according to The Detroit News.

"We're just going to take this up with the next Legislature and the next governor," said Ed Rivet of Right to Life of Michigan. Rivet said the group will follow up with the issue in 2019, when Snyder will not be able to seek reelection because he will have reached his term limit.

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Right to Life has also called on the legislature to pass more anti-abortion bills, which Snyder said he would need to look at.

The bill's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, denied that the plate had a political message. Colbeck also denied the plates would be divisive.

"The only way that holds any credence as a divisive message is if you somehow believe ‘Choose Death’ is a viable message -- and it’s not," said Colbeck.

"We hoped [Snyder] would recognize this wonderful opportunity to provide care to pregnant women in need and help suicide prevention efforts," said Right to Life of Michigan's President Barbara Listing. "The support for the Choose Life plate is still there and it will happen in Michigan, it’s just a matter of time. We look forward to taking the issue up with our next governor."

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Shelli Weisburg of the ACLU of Michigan said Snyder was right to veto the bill.

"We don’t think the state should really create that type of forum for controversial, one-sided political speech, and that’s what this would have been," said Weisburg. “If you’re going to open that forum, you have to do it widely.”

Twenty-nine states allow "Choose Life" license plates, says the National Conference for State Legislatures.

Nebraska's state legislature passed a bill in April that would allow "Choose Life" plates with the support of Nebraska's Lt. Gov. Mike Foley. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is expected to sign the bill, The Associated Press reports.

Republican state Sen. Paul Schumacher argued that putting any political message on a license plate will open up debates for other issues to be put on plates in the future, wasting time that the legislature could spend on other issues.

"We’re going to see more of these proposals," said the Nebraska state senator. "They’re going to be controversial, and we’re going to spend time arguing about this. Can you afford to take two, three days to argue about a license plate?"

Sources: WEMU, The Detroit News, AP via WREG / Photo credit: Paul J Everett/Flickr, State of Michigan/Wikimedia Commons, The Detroit News

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