Undercurrent

Nevada DMV now offers anti-abortion license plate

By: - July 16, 2018 5:36 pm
Values Life license plate

The ‘Values Life’ specialized license plate supports a pregnancy crisis center in Southern Nevada.

Values Life license plate
The ‘Values Life’ specialized license plate supports a pregnancy crisis center in Southern Nevada.

An anti-abortion organization in Southern Nevada now has a new funding mechanism: speciality license plates offered by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

The speciality license plate was approved in 2015 by the Nevada Commission on Speciality License Plates, but only became available Monday. The words “Values Life” appear on the plate along with a photo of a smiling baby against a backdrop of colorful paint splatter.

The Values Life plate is a fundraising project of the Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada, a pregnancy crisis center in Las Vegas that describes its mission as helping “save the lives of unborn children by sharing the love of Jesus Christ through spiritual, physical, emotional and educational support to our clients.” The center opened in 1985 — the same year the Nevada Legislature passed a parental notification law, which was challenged and later found unconstitutional.

The center explicitly states it does not recommend, provide or refer for abortions.

The faith-based organization will receive a portion of fees paid by Nevadans for the plate. The plate costs $62 initially and $30 to renew each year; $25 of the initial fee and $20 of the annual renewal fee will go to the organization.

Pro-abortion rights groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America rebuke pregnancy crisis centers like Women’s Resource Medical Centers, arguing they intentionally misinform and mislead women seeking pregnancy-related information.

When the plate was first proposed, Planned Parenthood opposed it.

Speciality licenses plates promoting anti-abortion beliefs aren’t uncommon in the United States. When announcing the availability of a new “Choose Life” vanity plate last year, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts stated that 29 other states already offered one.

A spokesperson for the Nevada DMV wouldn’t comment on Values Life plate, saying only that the DMV “issues all charitable license plates in accordance with Nevada law and well-established procedures.” Those statutes include requirements that organizations be “nondiscriminatory” and “not promote a specific religion, faith or antireligious belief.”

However, it does not include any language on promoting beliefs that may be controversial, such as abortion.

After Nebraska introduced its Choose Life specialty plate, Planned Parenthood in that state proposed and got approved its own “My Body, My Choice” license plate.

The CEO of Women’s Resource Medical Centers noted during the approval process here in Nevada that the existence of the plate through the DMV is not equivalent to their organization receiving state money since Nevadans must opt in to receive it. Promotion of the speciality plate falls solely on the nonprofit, which operates the website NevadaValuesLife.com.

Still, the plate will likely be the most controversial of the speciality plates available to drivers.

However coincidental, the release of the Values Life plate comes at a time when many feel abortion rights are under threat at the national and state level.

In other license-plate news, Nevada has also added a new desert conservation license plate. This speciality plate features a photo of a desert tortoise and helps fund the Clark County Desert Conservation Program.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.

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