Planned Parenthood license plates bill clears Va. Senate
The Virginia Senate, controlled by Democrats, has passed a measure that would create a specialty state license plate with the message "Trust Women/Respect Choice." Some of the application fee money paid by drivers who select the plate would go to the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood.
Drivers in Virginia, which loves its vanity plates, already are allowed to select one with the logo "Choose Life."
Today's action put the Senate's bill on the issue in conflict with one passed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates on Monday. Delegates chose to strip out Planned Parenthood funding and send the application fees for the plate to a state fund to help pregnant women instead.
Democrats in the Senate fended off an amendment to the bill from state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonberg) that would have followed the House's lead, allowing the creation of the plates but without sending money to Planned Parenthood.
The group had pledged not to use any funds on abortions. But, said Obenshain, an abortion opponent, "Money is fungible. Talk is cheap. It's easy to make that kind of promise."
Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), who proposed the plate, noted 400 Virginians have already paid for one, with the understanding their money would go to Planned Parenthood. She said the group had abided by regulations that govern the license plate program and argued that rejecting an abortion rights plate could endanger the constitutionality of Virginia's plate that urges people to "Choose Life."
"To adopt this amendment would be to single out this group and this license plate for disparate treatment," she said.
At her recommendation, the amendment was rejected. The bill that would create the plate, along with several other new license plates, passed on a 26 to 8 vote.
By Rosalind S. Helderman
February 16, 2010; 2:52 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly , General Assembly 2010 , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate
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