The Diocese of Raleigh took part in a news conference on February 17 at the General Assembly’s Legislative Building on February 17, supporting a legislative bill calling for a “Choose Life” license plate in North Carolina.
The news conference and rally was co-sponsored by North Carolina Right to Life and North Carolina Pro-Life Democrats. Among the speakers was Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R-85), sponsor of HB 168, which would allow the specialty plate to be purchased in the state. This is the ninth year Gillespie has put forth the bill, each time without success. Gillespie and other speakers noted that 22 states have approved a “Choose Life” license plate and that North Carolina is the only southern state that has not allowed the plate nor allowed a vote on it by the full assembly. North Carolina already has 130 approved specialty license plates. Each speaker asked the question, “Why not North Carolina?” and made the point that the time is now.
Msgr. Michael Clay, legislative liaison and lobbyist for Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte, read a statement from both Bishops. The statement appealed to “Christians and all people of good will to contact their legislators and ask them to support this legislation.”
Proceeds from the sale of the specialty plates would be distributed to crisis pregnancy centers in the state, “whose services include counseling and meeting the needs of pregnant women within the state who are planning to place their children for adoption.”
Two young women addressed the gathering to share their stories of going to crisis pregnancy centers and making the decision of choosing life for their infant. Both women were grateful the centers existed. In the words of Tabitha Vinson, one of the women, “The journey hasn’t been easy but it has been well worth it! I am continuing college part-time and work full-time, a small sacrifice to make for such a precious gift.”
Catholics are urged to contact their North Carolina senators and representatives urging them to help bring the license plate bill up for a vote in this session of the general assembly.
Catholics in both Dioceses can make the request through Catholic Voice NC at its website www.catholicvoicenc.org. The site is a joint effort by the Bishops of Raleigh and Charlotte to assist Catholics interested in making their voices heard on important issues.
Above: Barbara Holt, President NC Right to Life; Rep Mitch Gillespie (R-85); Eva Ritchie, President NC Pro-Life Democrats, Msgr. Michael Clay; and Barbara Stevenson, State Director Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship at news conference and rally in support of “Choose Life” license plate bill.
Below: Tabitha Vinson and her son following her remarks on her decision to ‘choose life’ upon learning at a Pregnancy Counseling Center in Rocky Mount that she was pregnant.