'Choose life' license plate bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk


A bill creating an optional "choose life" license plate in Michigan passed the House 65-43 on Thursday.

Senate Bill 163 would have the state develop and issue a fund-raising license plate with the message "choose life." It would cost $35 more than a standard license plate, and $25 of that would go to the Choose Life Michigan Fund, controlled by anti-abortion group Right to Life Michigan.

The bill originated in the Senate, which approved it in April. With the House's approval its next step is for the Senate to send it to Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration. The governor vetoed unrelated abortion insurance legislation early in his term, and did not get an endorsement from Right to Life during his first or second campaigns. 

Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said the governor had not yet made a decision on the license plate bill, but "will take a look at whether he thinks this is appropriate policy when it gets to his desk."

"The funds will go to the women for diapers, clothes, car seats, parenting classes and other such things," said Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, who said the simple term "choose life" should not be a political argument.

Democrats lost a series of amendments that would have directed the proceeds from the license plates elsewhere.

Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, said the phrase "choose life" was originally about choosing life over death and destruction. It became popular after singer George Michael wore a shirt with the message in WHAM's 1984 music video for the song "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

He urged his colleagues to direct the funds toward charities promoting peace.

"Like George Michael, I've got to have faith that my colleagues won't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo," Moss said.

But his amendment failed. Democrats also lost amendments to direct the funding toward adoption and anti-infant mortality efforts.

The bill passed 65-43 along mostly party lines. Two Democrats, Rep. Brian Elder, D-Bay City, and Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, voted with Republicans in favor of the bill.