Red States and License Plates

250px-FlaChooseLifeTagWhen I moved 1,200 miles with my family from Connecticut to Florida I didn’t think the political culture would bother me much. I am extremely liberal, and I don’t think living in a different part of the country is going to change my beliefs. But one thing I have discovered is a lack of fairness when it comes to state sponsored license plates. (I am sure there are other issues, but this is the first to get under my skin.)

Everywhere I go I see license plates with the motto “Choose Life.” Don’t get me wrong. I am all about people being able to express their opinions on their car. Whether it be bumper stickers, license plates, or whatever vinyl decals they want to decorate with. But what bothers me is the fact that there is no option in Florida, the first state to approve a “Choose Life” license plate, for a pro-choice license plate. Florida has nearly a hundred different options for specialty license plates from college sports teams to every environmental cause under the sun. I can be pro-dolphins, pro-firefighters, pro-fishing and pro-American Red Cross. But alas, my car and I cannot be pro-choice  (as we could in Virginia), as there are no options to support reproductive freedom, even the state has sanctioned the ability to be “pro-life,” aka, anti-choice.

I shouldn’t be surprised considering every mile down the highway there are huge billboards for crisis pregnancy centers and organizations who will do anything to talk you out of the abortion you may be considering.

But now that I’m a Florida resident, it’s something I’m just going to have to get used to. Like when I lived in North Carolina. I was pro-choice then, but not as pro-choice as I became after having children. I remember driving down one of the main roads in my city seeing one of those disgustingly graphic anti-abortion signs thinking to myself what the hell is wrong with people? At least North Carolina has taken a step in the right direction to be fair — a federal judge there ruled last year that it was unconstitutional for the state to offer “Choose Life” license plates without offering car owners a “similar product for the opposing viewpoint.”

One of my biggest worries in what seems to be a competition to create signs and slogans to talk people out of their Constitutional right is my daughter, and how this trend will impact her and her freedoms when it comes to having children some day. Will she be forced to skip birth control or not have the option for an abortion if that is what she wants to do?

I will continue to fight the good fight for reproductive rights that I feel so strongly about, but in a brand new area of the country where restrictions on abortion seem to be increasing every day, because I can assure everyone my opinions are not going to change just because I moved.

Time to get a couple of pro-choice bumper stickers for my car.

Image via Wikipedia

  • Joan Haskins

    I notice the same thing when I cross over into Virginia. Interesting to me that people would pay a yearly fee to announce their beliefs on their bumper.

  • Danielle, that is a very good point, but more important I wonder just how accessible a legal and safe abortion is in Florida. That seems to be a greater problem. I am afraid we are moving to a day when the back alley abortion comes back. I’m old enough to just barely remember pre-73 and the stories that people talked about, some of the horrors we all know to be true.

    The other thing I find interesting about your post is that I lived in Florida in the 1980s and it was much more blue then. Though I’m not for sure, I think in 84 and 88 Florida was blue in the Prez Elections.

    Thanks for this interesting post.

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