Monday, February 15, 2010

Va. House approves pro-choice license plate, but diverts funds from PP

If you could show your support for women's reproductive choices on your license plate, would you?*

The state of Virginia is currently in a legislative debate over offering license plates that say "Trust Women. Respect Choice." Planned Parenthood has sought to offer these plates, with a portion of the proceeds from sales of the license plates going to PP (as is common practice when a nonprofit organization seeks to issue a state license plate; Virginia has more than 30 such plates). According to this story:

"Virginia's proposed plate would generate money for the state's eight Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide free pregnancy tests, contraception, gynecological exams, cancer screenings and other services for about 30,000 people each year. That is likely to be a source of contention for Republicans, who control the House and in recent years have stripped the organization of state funding other than Medicaid reimbursements because Planned Parenthood provides abortions. The organization says the money from any license plate sales- $15 per plate after the first 1,000 are sold- would not be used for abortions."

See if you can guess what happens next. Really, go ahead. Guess.

You ready for it? Okay ...

Today, the House gave preliminary approval to the actual license plate. BUT. They denied the funds going to Planned Parenthood. Instead, Republicans in the House offered up and passed an amendment that "the bill instead directs the funds to the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund, a fund administered by the state Board of Health to support women facing unplanned pregnancies."

The story says the bill will be up for a final House vote Tuesday, and the Senate still has to take up the bill. If you live in Virginia (or if you don't?), now's the time to contact your representatives about this. Be sure to let them know that funds from the "Choose Life" license plate, which is already available in Virginia, supports Heartbeat International, a pro-life organization.

(UPDATE: The Senate has passed the bill, with funding for Planned Parenthood in tact. The full House has passed the bill as voted on by the committee Monday, with funds going elsewhere. Not sure what happens from here. Also, be sure the read the one and only comment on that first story. Has to be a joke.)

I really hope Virginia sees the error here and that funds end up going to Planned Parenthood. I wonder, though, if PP would prefer the plate be available no matter where the funds go? Here is PP's site for the plates, which were available for pre-order. (I suppose they still are, but I don't know what's going to happen with the funding from purchases of them.)

By the way, if this passes, Virginia would become just the fourth state to offer a pro-choice license plate. Twenty-three states offer a pro-life plate. (Read more about that here, about six paragraphs down.)

Seems like a good time to donate to Planned Parenthood, doesn't it? (Here's the link to the Virginia PP, too.)

More reading:
  • RH Reality Check: "UPDATE: Virginia Gets Closer to Creating Pro-Choice License Plate."
  • New York Times: "Is That Plate Speaking for the Driver or the State?" (backgrounder)

*(And would you be concerned about someone defacing your car? Just curious.)


Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd like to see the funds go to other non-profits that aren't necessarily affiliated with the state. Don't get me wrong, I'm a PP support and work in a similar field. The problem is that PP's everywhere seek to dominate the work surrounding reproductive health. I see it firsthand where I'm at.

I get that the other side's license plate goes to a pro-life org but why not go one step further with the Trust Women plate and spread the wealth? PP surely doesn't need a few extra thousand a year.

Rosie said...

Anon, Planned Parenthood applied for these plates, same as any other nonprofit group who does gets funds from their plates. They are the group that has been working to pre-sell the plates, the group that has done all the paperwork to get these plates issued. Why wouldn't they get the funds? And whatever gives you the impression that PP doesn't need money? There isn't a nonprofit in this country that doesn't need and seek more funding.


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