WILMINGTON, N.C. — A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked North Carolina from issuing special anti-abortion license plates.
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union suing to prevent the "Choose Life" plates, alleging that they violate the First Amendment because there's no specialty plate for supporters of abortion rights.
U.S. District Judge James Fox issued a temporary injunction to stop the Division of Motor Vehicles from issuing the plates until the suit could be heard.
"This case is ultimately about free speech and equal treatment for all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on abortion," Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU's North Carolina Legal Foundation, said in a statement. "The state should not be allowed to use its authority to promote one side of a debate while denying the same opportunity to the other side."
Twenty-nine states either already make "Choose Life" plates available or have approved such plates but have not manufactured them.
But the plates have a mixed record when it comes to court challenges, with some judges ruling states can sell them and others siding with challengers who say the plates are unconstitutional.