'Choose Life' license plate vetoed by governor

LANSING (AP) — Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would have required Michigan to create and sell an anti-abortion fundraising license plate.

The bill approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature would have required the “Choose Life” plate to be issued by next June.

“The ‘Choose Life’ license plate is a political message that has the potential to bitterly divide millions of Michiganders and that, in my view, is not appropriate for a state-issued license plate,” Snyder said in a letter to lawmakers.

Michigan currently has fundraising plates for public universities and 14 special causes such as breast cancer awareness that cost drivers $35 initially and $10 each time they are renewed.

The money would have gone to a fund whose board is controlled by Right to Life of Michigan, which has long lobbied for the license plate. 

The board, which would have covered state costs to develop the new plate, would have dispersed grants to nonprofits including crisis pregnancy centers and those promoting “life-affirming programs and projects.”

Snyder, who has signed some anti-abortion legislation but has also shown little overall enthusiasm for the hot-button issue, said “these are noble causes but having a private fund making funding decisions is a concern.”

The legislation was sponsored by Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck, who is running for governor in 2018 when Snyder will be term-limited. Democrats opposed the bill.

In 2012, Snyder vetoed a bill requiring residents who want health insurance coverage for abortions to buy an extra policy, citing concerns about government overreach and no exceptions for rape, incest or the woman's health. 

GOP legislators later bypassed Snyder and enacted a similar law through a Right to Life-backed citizens’ initiative.