It began as one man's dream to save lives by promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion and it has resulted in raising millions of dollars. That's the Choose Life license plate effort that started in Florida and has moved to dozens of states that either have the plates or are working to get them.
Russ and Jill Amerling are the founders of the national effort to put the yellow license plates with a child-like drawing of the faces of a boy and girl on vehicles across the nation.
Little did they know that the plate or one like it would grace the bumpers of cars in 24 states and generate more than $10 million for adoption agencies, maternity homes and pregnancy centers.
“The Choose Life license plate effort has been a labor of love for Jill and I," Russ Amerling told LifeNews.com on Sunday. “We have traveled all over the US and met some of the nicest, most caring folks in the country.” Randy Harris, a county commissioner in Florida, had the original idea to create the plates and the Marion County commission approved them in 1997.
Since then, tens of thousands of the plates have been put on cars in Florida, with 40,018 in 2008 making it the ninth most popular of the hundreds of specialty plates in the state.
Nearly 500,000 Choose Life plates have been sold nationwide raising an estimated $10.6 million across the country including $6.5 million in Florida.
The idea for pro-abortion affinity plates hasn't caught on in Florida or other states, likely because polls show a majority of Americans are pro-life, and, to date, only Hawaii and Montana have them.
Amerling says there appears "to be very little public support" for pro-abortion plates.
"NOW has been working for three years to raise $75,000 to apply for a United for Choice plate in Florida," he told LifeNews.com. "Currently their web site shows they have raised about $5,000.”
“The Choose Life license plate is outselling the opposition plates in Hawaii and Montana 5 to 1 and 8 to 1 respectively," Amerling adds. They really don't want [their own] plate because they know it won't sell."
The plates appear to have been successful as the Florida Department of Children and Families notes the number of finalized adoptions has risen from 2,906 in 2005 to 3,674 in 2008.