- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan drivers might soon be able to ride around the state with a “Choose Life” license plate.

New legislation passed in the Senate would allow drivers to purchase a plate for $35 with some of the proceeds going to the Choose Life Michigan Fund. Money from the sales would help nonprofit anti-abortion groups such as crisis pregnancy centers and specific abortion prevention projects. The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Patrick Colbeck, said the legislation does not force anyone to buy the plate but provides it as an option.

“The proceeds from the license plate enabled under this legislation would help satisfy the material needs of a mother - such as diapers, gas money or shelter - all within a very loving environment that seeks what is best for the mother, as well as what is best for the child in her womb,” Colbeck said.

Ed Rivet, legislative director for the anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan, said that Michigan is the only state on the Interstate 75 corridor to Florida that doesn’t have a “Choose Life” license plate. Rivet also said this issue is something that has been fought over for more than 10 years.

“This is about the seventh consecutive (legislative) session,” Rivet said. “I think it started around the first or second session of Gov. Granholm’s (tenure), so I think we are really looking at all eight years of hers and probably the six-plus years now of Gov. Snyder.”

Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren voiced her opposition to the bill, saying people are able to go online and raise money for such causes as breast cancer, veterans, public colleges, the Salvation Army and Red Cross through the secretary of state. “This bill however, would be the first and most politically blatant license plate we’ve ever had in our state,” Warren said.

She added that money should be directed to promote what she said are more proven ways to reduce abortion rates such as access to birth control, family planning and affordable health care.

Additionally, two amendments offered by Democratic Sens. Steve Bieda and Hoon-Yung Hopgood addressing redirecting the money to other health services and infant mortality rates were both defeated.

The bill will now move to the GOP-controlled House for further discussion.

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