Whether it’s the subtle condescension of stick figure families, the dudes who manage to sexualize breast cancer or threatening warnings that a driver may have a gun, we all know that the junk people choose to put on their cars is an easy way to determine whether they are The Literal Worst™. So, of course, the ubiquitous license plates that read “Choose Life” are a really quick way to ID garbage people, decide who you’re never gonna sleep with and pick which car you’re gonna drunkenly key (we’re kidding) (maybe).
But did you know that, in addition to contributing to a culture of stigma and intolerance toward abortion, these license plates contribute financially to shady institutions that discourage, shame and spread misinformation (AKA Crisis Pregnancy Centers) in several states?
That’s right, we’re talking about CPCs again. If you’re new around these parts, CPCs are institutions run by anti-abortion extremists that advertise themselves as resources for women dealing with unplanned pregnancies — while actually pushing shame-based, fear-mongering and medically inaccurate materials. They frequently keep their websites vague and try to game search engines in order to trick women seeking abortions into unknowingly making appointments at their facilities that, again, do not provide abortions, do not provide accurate information about abortions and do not present abortion as a realistic, beneficial option for women.
Now back to the license plates: Reports from Quartz found that these “Choose Life” license plates are 29 states (according to the Guttmacher institute) and that “in 15 of these states, a portion of the proceeds go to funding anti-choice or crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).” And it’s not just chump change, either, as Choose Life says they’ve raised over $24 million since Dec. 31, 2016 (with a total reported number of choose life license plates sales and renewals nationally is over 1.1 million.)
As Quartz notes, “legal efforts to stop the Choose Life plate programs have, to date, been unsuccessful” due to arguments that they are protected as “free speech.” However, reproductive rights activists have been working to try and even the playing field by introducing family planning license plates in their states — including Virginia, Pennsylvania and Montana. They just have a lot of catching up to do.
In addition to being the worst thing to happen to vehicles since Truck Nuts, these plates are literally contributing to organizations who lie to women and chip away at their reproductive options. While it’s easy to overlook this bumper bullshit as just another annoying example of passive, backseat activism, you might just find yourself playing the worst road trip game ever next time you go for a drive. Sorry in advance for adding to your road rage.