Federal appeals court strikes down 'Choose Life' license plate

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 03:35 PM

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has ruled that a North Carolina license plate with an anti-abortion message is unconstitutional.

The unanimous decision Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upholds a federal judge's ruling striking down the "Choose Life" license plate.

Lawmakers approved the anti-abortion plates in 2011 and rejected proposals to offer plates with messages "Trust Women" and "Respect Choice." The appeals court said that is blatant viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.

The court rejected the state's argument that it owns the plates it issues to motorists and has the right to use them to convey its preferred anti-abortion message.