"Choose Life" plates: what will they pay for?

Jan 27, 2012

The newsroom 8-ball says: "Answer hazy, try again later."

As we reported earlier this week, a proposal in the state legislature that would create a "Choose Life" specialty Michigan license plate cleared a Senate committee and has made its way to the chamber floor. If the proposal passes, proceeds from the plates would go to a newly-formed organization called the Choose Life Michigan Fund.

A Facebook fan responded, writing:  "These 'pregnancy resource centers' and 'other prolife entities' actively evangelize and attempt to convert vulnerable women to their version of Christianity."

This comment got us wondering, if the proposal passes, what exactly will money from the plates pay for?

MPRN's Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta weighed in on the question of whether or not the proposed legislation would allow pro-life groups to use money raised by the state to proselytize in any way.

Pluta writes:

There will be a "Choose Life Michigan Fund" that will be administered by the state treasurer much like other trust funds. The proceeds of the fund will be disbursed to a new group called "Choose Life Michigan" to promote alternatives to abortion.

Section 6 of the bill says:

"Money from the Choose Life Michigan Fund shall be expended on projects that promote alternatives to abortion, including adoption, provide practical support to pregnant women, and provide practical outreach to at-risk populations regarding positive pregnancy options."

The language is a little murky. What are "positive pregnancy options," for example? Or "practical outreach?" But, to [the commenter's] point directly, the legislation appears silent. The state already contracts with faith organizations for some services, and they are not allowed to proselytize. I imagine the services under this legislation would be covered by the same standard. If by "proselytizing," you mean dissuading women from having abortions, well, that's really the point of the fund.

 -John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom