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Nebraska Governor Signs License Plate Law, Expresses Preference for Not Murdering Children

Wikipedia / Gage Skidmore

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed Legislative Bill 45 into law Wednesday, which allows the creation of “Choose Life” license plates.

The bill passed 35-5 in the Legislature, despite fierce opposition in the form of filibusters during every round of debate.

The license plates will cost an additional $5 and proceeds will supplement federal funding for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program.

There are several noteworthy items here. First, the creation of license plates propagating truth would not be in and of itself a bad thing (if they were actually propagating truth), and in fact the use of funds to help families in need is certainly a worthy cause.

If these license plates (and the similar ones in many other states) read something like “Abortion is murder”, and the states in which they were issued were also putting forward legislation to abolish abortion as murder, there wouldn’t be anything critical to say about the license plate effort.

Unfortunately, “Choose Life” is not a consistently pro-life message. And it is most certainly not an abolitionist message.

Why is this important? Because the pro-life rhetoric in this case is actually pro-choice. To exhort others to “choose life” is to legitimize the idea that whether their child lives or dies is a “choice” and that allowing the child to live is merely the preferable choice. Of course we would never speak to people this way about their born children. But our entire society—including those who claim to believe that life is valuable and worthy of protection from the moment of conception—is deeply ageist. No one would ever say to a distraught mother who was considering drowning her toddlers, “life would be a preferable choice.” Instead, they would probably call the police and inform them the mother was a real danger to her children, and the police would likely intervene, because mothers don’t get to “choose” whether to kill their children, so long as their children are old enough.

This is one of the reasons we say the pro-life position1 is actually pro-choice.

But the license plate bill also exposes the truth that Ricketts and other legislators do not really believe what they say about the preborn.

In a 2015 letter on his web site, Ricketts said, “Protecting Nebraska’s truly vulnerable and guarding the sanctity of life are core duties of government and each one of us.” This statement indicates that Ricketts believes innocent human lives are being taken and that it is his duty to protect them. If this is actually true, his response to the murder of the preborn—creating “make a better choice” license plates—is actually shocking. Imagine a governor who, confronted with the reality that mothers in his state were regularly having their teenagers dismembered, responded to such an atrocity by creating “Choose not to dismember your high schooler” license plates, to “celebrate the culture of life”.

Again, if Ricketts were also demanding the abolition of abortion in Nebraska, there would be nothing wrong with putting out license plates that help provide relief to needy families, so long as the message they bore was actually true and helpful. But by itself, apart from any urgent action to actually protect the lives of innocent children from murder, Legislative Bill 45 tells the culture that pro-lifers don’t really believe anyone is being actually killed inside the state’s abortion clinics or via over-the-counter poisons.

What’s equally schizophrenic is the reaction from the pro-choice lobby to such a mild effort. Three filibusters? Really? Folks who are fine with state funding being directed to Planned Parenthood are filibustering because someone might be able to put a gentle, kinda-but-not-really pro-life message on his or her license plate? But then again it makes sense that the folks who want to be able to murder babies, on demand and without apology, would want to silence any opinion that doesn’t fall fully in line with their agenda. Because deep down, they know their position is the furthest thing from defensible and they have to be the ones to yell the loudest or people may start to actually think about what they are defending and celebrating.

Still, it would be great if the state of Nebraska would give the pro-murder people something to protest that actually posed a real threat to the practice of child sacrifice, rather than a weak effort to simply enable people to express their personal opinions on the back of their automobiles.

Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who staged the final filibuster, argued that political language should not be permissible on license plates, and that the state should not openly support a particular view.

“It is not a good idea to start going down the road of state-sponsored controversial speech,” agreed Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln.

Lt. Gov. Mike Foley defended the move by saying that Roe v. Wade allows states to express a preference for avoiding abortion, according to an article on Let that sink in for a moment. The state’s position is that a supreme court decision will allow them to express that they prefer children not be murdered by their own parents.

In a recent interview with the Nebraska Family Alliance, Foley said, “If we don’t get this one right (the abortion issue), nothing else really matters. We have to protect human life at all stages of development… despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court forty some years ago promulgated the Roe v. Wade decision, there are still opportunities where we can speak up through our laws in defense of unborn children.” Foley said LB 45 was one such opportunity.

While we at the Liberator agree with the words Foley and Ricketts have expressed regarding their duty to the preborn, we cannot report that the strength of their actions is in any way consistent with their sentiments. One cannot declare that the protection of innocent life is an urgent duty of the government while simultaneously attempting to work within the confines of the ruling that made their murder “legal.”

We encourage Foley, Ricketts, and state legislators to stop using mere gestures that express mild opinions while staying subservient to unjust and unconstitutional Supreme Court opinions. Be men of courage and moral fortitude! Use the authority God has granted you to do your duty to the preborn within your state. Abolish abortion as murder!


  1. Not the thoughts and actions of every individual pro-lifer, but rather the stance and rhetoric of the pro-life movement as a whole.