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Court OK’s Anti-Abortion License Plates In Arizona

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - License plates with the message "Choose Life" might be seen on the streets of Arizona if the 9th Circuit's ruling allowing the anti-abortion plates stands. The appeals court found that the Arizona License Plate Commission violated the constitutional rights of the Arizona Life Coalition by denying its application for the specialty plates.

Life Coalition is an Arizona nonprofit that provides "compassionate care ... to persons who are considering abortion, or who are affected by abortion." In June 2002, it resubmitted an application for a specialty plate that would "display Life Coalition's official logo, a small graphic of two children's faces and the motto, 'Choose Life.'"

Concerned that the plates would be seen as a state endorsement, the commission denied the application. The Life Coalition sued, claiming the denial violated its free-speech and 14th Amendment rights, and the district court granted summary judgment to the defendant.

The circuit reversed, saying the commission had denied the application "on grounds not specified in the statute or related to the limited purpose of the license plate forum." See ruling.

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