- - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Abortion mills are going out of business across a wide swath of the heartland. Kentucky has only one left, and the Republican governor, Matt Bevin, is trying to close it.

The EMW Women’s Clinic in Louisville was cited last year for performing abortions without a license, because it was not in compliance with a state law that requires it to have hospital and ambulance service agreements for patient emergencies. Such a requirement is necessary, the governor’s office says, “to protect the health, welfare and lives of women in Kentucky.”

Lawsuits are pending, against the backdrop of continuing  controversy over so-called “Choose Life” automobile license plates, adorned with the legend “Choose Life” and usually illustrated with the happy faces of children who weren’t aborted. Thirty-two states, including Virginia and Maryland as well as the District of Columbia, give motorists the option of buying such a plate. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are trying to prevent states and the District from selling them, arguing that such plates constitute the states “taking sides” in the long-running abortion controversy,  and amounts to state-sanctioned speech.

The “Choose Life” plates cost from $5 to $25 more than unadorned license plates, and in some states the additional revenue supplements federal funding for the assistance to needy families programs. Choose Life America, which works to persuade states to approve the pro-life plates, says that the plates have raised more than $26 million nationwide “to support adoption efforts of crisis-pregnancy centers, maternity homes and not-for-profit adoption agencies.”

The plates have been controversial since the first ones went on sale in Florida in 1998. The legislation authorizing the plates passed both houses of the Florida legislature in 1997 but Lawton Chiles, the Democratic governor, said the choose-life plate “is not the proper forum for debate.” He vetoed the bill.
The following year, Jeb Bush, campaigning to succeed Mr. Chiles, said he would sign similar legislation if it passed the legislature. The legislation was adopted and Mr. Bush, by then the new governor, signed it and it became law.



Legislation authorizing a choose-life plate was adopted last year in Michigan, but Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed it because, he said, the license plates had the potential to bitterly divide millions of Michiganders.”

A vision of hundreds of bodies littering the Michigan landscape, with thousands of debating citizens choking impassable interstate highways, has not deterred governors in other states, though debate has sometimes been fierce.

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