Tuesday, March 07, 2017

California Plate to Proclaim Trust for Women, but Give Actual $$ to Planned Parenthood

California is making a try at an abortion-rights specialty license plate. I have been unable to find any image,

They're planning to be as oblique as possible with a "California Trusts Women? theme.
Proceeds from the plate will benefit the Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment (FPACT) program, which provides family planning services to 1.8 million Californians every year. Currently, the FPACT program is overwhelmingly supported by federal funding, with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the tab. FPACT funding is also a vital source of funding for Planned Parenthood reproductive health care services.
Let's thus start with the obvious: Since the money is going to Planned Parenthood and not to actual women, isn't the issue whether or not California can trust Planned Parenthood? And if so, to do what?

In the mean time, pending release of the actual design, I'd like to take this opportunity to revisit previous proposed and/or existing abortion-rights specialty plates. To be fair, all of these designs start at a disadvantage. Abortion is not exactly an upbeat thing, like the birth of a new baby, so it's hard to come up with a cheery graphic.

Massachusetts. They seem to be struggling pretty hard with the inherent downer that most people find abortion to be. They just drag out the standard non-approved fetus-dislodger, the coathanger. This is the only plate that in any way acknowledges that the topic in question is abortion rather than the market-tested "choice" that everybody else sticks with. As a result, the plate is simultaneously militant and depressing.
Florida. Adorable! Look how the little aborted baby stars fly up to Heaven while the one little lucky "chosen" star ... floats .....  Um.... Mom? You're not even holding that baby. That's a bit disturbing. I'll push that thought away by assuming that Junior is in a snugli. After all, there's no point in getting your hands all tied up with even a chosen child.

Alaska. Like Florida, they go for the floating-baby theme, though it's hard to say if these parents are throwing the baby or trying to catch him as he flies away. Are they letting him go or trying to hold on? Either way, it strikes me as a bit unsettling in the abortion context. Just as an aside, the people also look a bit like sleds, particularly against the snowy background. This is the only plate I've seen that graphically acknowledges the existence of the father.

Virginia. This seems to still be in the proposal stage and not gracing the Prius yet. Featuring minimalist art like the Florida and Alaska plates, this one is utterly childless. It's hard to tell if the checkmark-woman is fleeing or celebrating. Maybe she's not sure herself. Is that elongated arm holding her back or is she unable to let go?

Hawaii. A ballot graphic with the ambiguous word "choice" is dull and boxy. Placing it atop the rainbow background that's on all Hawaii plates leaves the meaning even more ambiguous. Is it a gay rights plate? What's the driver trying to say? Where did the extra money for the plate go? Maybe it's best not to ask too many questions.

Montana. They're not content with mere ambiguity and are going for a total message-flip. They might actually be hoping to sell these plates to people who like the mother-and-child design and who would never dream that they're taking a stand for abortion rights.

Pennsylvania. The straightforward Planned Parenthood logo lets people know up front where their money will be going. Kudos for the honesty in that, PP, especially considering how little honesty your organization is known for overall. Pennsylvania plates typically have much more dynamic designs, so this one took zero effort, as if they just couldn't be bothered.

These are the only plates I've been able to find. I'd love to list more.


This last plate is totally unrelated to the  post but I spotted it and found it amusing, if somehow darkly ironic, considering the search that produced it:

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