Anti-Choice license plates threaten Nebraska women. On January 5 of this year, Nebraska State Senator Dan Watermeier of Syracuse introduced LB46, a bill that would allow the Department of Transportation to print license plates featuring the phrase “Choose Life” on them. Proceeds from these personalized plates would go to the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund.
Senator Watermeier has stated that the plates “reflect support for the protection of Nebraska’s children.” While the prevention of child abuse is a nonpartisan issue and hugely important, obscuring this message with the divisive, politically charged statement “Choose Life” implies that those who support a woman’s right to choose do not care about children. In addition, the proposed license plates’ message is openly hostile to Nebraska women who have made the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy, and is a stark reminder that the political system in Nebraska is often hostile to them. If Senator Watermeier is truly passionate about protecting Nebraska’s children, perhaps he could change the language of the bill to “Protect Children”—a more inclusive message for pro-choice Nebraskans who may also want to contribute to the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund.
The proposed bill has yet to be voted on. A similar measure was pulled in 2016 after opponents added amendments changing the language of the license plate to state “Black Lives Matter” or “Love Your Mother.” Currently, the bill faces amendments from Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha, Senator Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, and Senator Patty Pansing-Brooks of Lincoln to change the language of the “Choose Life” plates or to create additional “End Rape Culture” plates. We can only hope that the state legislature makes the responsible decision not to impose misogynistic politics onto state-issued products.