An ad hoc committee of representatives from crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies, along with adoptive families and other concerned citizens, has launched an initiative to bring the Choose Life license plate to Illinois. Jim Finnegan of Barrington, Illinois has spear-headed the campaign and recruited the advice and support of Ed and Virginia McCaskey of the Chicago Bears. The McCaskeys have issued an open letter to the citizens of Illinois, inviting the participation of anyone who wants to help advance the cause of adoption.
Sen. Patrick O’Malley has served as a consultant on the project, offering his expertise on the procedures in the legislature and in the Secretary of State’s office in Springfield. In Illinois the process of issuing a specialty license plate does not require petitions from interested citizens, but Sen. Patrick O’Malley, who introduced the legislation in Springfield, has recommended that a large number of signatures on petitions goes a long way to eliciting the support of the legislators who ultimately will cast a vote on the issuance of the plate. As of this writing, over 12,000 signatures have already been gathered. O’Malley plans to hold a press conference when the committee is ready to present the petitions to the Secretary of State.
Plates Help Adoptions
Dick and Sue Bergquist, who have adopted eight children with special needs, serve on the board of directors of Illinois Choose Life, the not-for-profit corporation formed to promote the license plate concept. All profits from the sale of the plates will be directed to adoption agencies in Illinois and pregnancy assistance agencies whose clients may place their children for adoption.
The Choose Life license plate is a creative approach to spreading the message that life is valuable and of providing a viable solution for women facing unplanned pregnancies. The Choose Life specialty plate was first introduced in Florida, where it was met with a torrent of opposition from the promoters of the culture of death Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women, represented by the committee for Reproductive Law and Policy in spite of the fact that all of the proceeds of the Choose Life plate go toward the promotion of adoption. Florida has rebuffed three lawsuits attempting to halt the sale and display of the Choose Life plate, and has now raised over $1.3 million, with more than 35,000 plates on the roads in Florida.
Eight States Have Plates
Eight states have now made the Choose Life plates available in addition to Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Hawaii. Now Illinois has launched its effort to bring the Choose Life plate to the Land of Lincoln.
The availability of the Choose Life license plate in so many states is due largely to the efforts of Russ and Jill Amerling of Ocala, FL, who have committed all of their time to the promotion of this positive, life-affirming project. In June Russ and Jill visited Chicago at the invitation of Jim Finnegan to explain how they succeeded in bringing the Choose Life plate to Florida and several other states where they have helped local pregnancy assistance centers and adoption agencies to initiate license plate campaigns. They serve as an invaluable resource as the Illinois committee moves closer toward making the Choose Life license plate a reality.