NOVEMBER 23, 16:29 EST

NOW Opposes 'Choose Life' Plates
Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A specialty license plate with a crayon drawing of two children and the message ``Choose Life'' won final approval Tuesday despite criticism it is a political statement against abortion.

Money raised by sales of the plate — which is expected to become available in two to three months for an extra $22 — will go toward organizations that serve pregnant women who plan to put their babies up for adoption.

Florida is the first state to adopt such a plate, said Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life.

The National Organization for Women has said it will go to court to try to block the tag's release.

Florida already offers more than 45 specialty plates devoted to everything from the endangered manatee to the Florida Panthers hockey team. Legislators approved the tag earlier this year; the last step was for Gov. Jeb Bush and the six-member Cabinet to approve the color and design.

The Republican governor joined four Cabinet members in approving the tag. Attorney General Bob Butterworth and Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson, both Democrats, voted against it.

``I believe there are better ways to promote adoption than placing a political message on a license plate,'' Nelson said.

Legislation for the ``Choose Life'' plate was first passed in 1998 but vetoed by Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Bush signed a similar measure in June.

Toni Van Pelt, president of NOW's Florida chapter, called the plate ``an attempt to interfere with a woman's right to choose.''

Supporters said the plate is not anti-abortion.

``It's for adoption,'' the governor said Tuesday. ``If people want to politicize that, they'll politicize anything.''

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