‘Choose Life’ license tag approved by DMV after long battle

COLUMBIA — The S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles has approved the “Choose Life” vehicle tag for motorists, according to a press release from S.C. Citizens for Life (SCCL).

The design of the tag was unveiled at a press conference May 28 at the State House. Proceeds from the sale of the tag will support state pregnancy care centers.

“It has taken seven long years of very hard work to bring this ‘Choose Life’ tag into being,” Holly Gatling, executive director and lobbyist for SCCL stated in the press release.

In 2001 the General Assembly passed a bill allowing the tag to be issued, but Planned Parenthood sued to keep the state from producing it.

 The General Assembly then passed a law in 2006 that permitted non-profit organizations such as SCCL to apply directly to the DMV for a revenue-producing specialty license plate. Although SCCL complied with the DMV requirements, the department asked S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster to issue a specific ruling on whether the Choose Life organization qualified to have a specialized plate.

According to the press release, McMaster stated that if Citizens for Life met the DMV’s requirements for a specialty license plate, then the department “may not, consistent with the First Amendment, deny issuance of the specialty plate.”

In an interview with The Miscellany, Gatling said the tags will cost $35, plus the DMV fee, which is based on the type of vehicle.

Proceeds from the sale of the license plate will help pregnancy centers pay for a variety of services, including ultrasound imaging, pregnancy testing, counseling, parenting classes, and maternity and infant clothing.

“And that’s the short list,” Gatling said.

The plates could go into production by September, according to Lotte Devlin, DMV spokeswoman.

Gatling noted that Citizens for Life is working on a Web site that will provide details on the “Choose Life” tags before they go on sale.