Hawaii may soon become the first state to cancel its “Choose Life” license plate because of insufficient sales—-but it won’t be for lack of trying. Steve Holck, the founder of Aloha Pregnancy Care & Counseling Centers and sponsor of the specialty plate has offered to personally pay for the 50 plates needed to avoid cancellation—-that is, if he can find anyone who wants one.
In an urgent email, sent earlier this month and obtained by TPM, Holck wrote: “I will pay for the first 50 plates in February 2011! Just send me an email…and I will send you a check for $30.50 to the DMV for the Hawaii Choose Life License Plate.” The plates were introduced almost three years ago and as of early February, only 100 had been sold, according to Holck’s email. If 150 plates total are not purchased by March 1, the Department of Motor Vehicles will discontinue the plate.
Garret Hashimoto, the current president of Aloha Pregnancy Care & Counseling Centers, told TPM sales of the plate has spiked since the email was sent out, although he wasn’t sure of the exact number sold so far. “All I can say is we are close to our quota and we expect to meet it by March 1,” he said. He said a few people with legitimate financial needs have already taken Holck up on his offer.
The money raised by the plates goes to the pregnancy center, which offers women free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. The center’s mission, according to their website, is to “bring the love of Jesus, hope for the future, and practical support to those experiencing unplanned pregnancies.” Hashimoto described the center as a crucial alternative to Planned Parenthood, which he said was “full of horror stories.”
Since the first “Choose Life” license plate was approved in Florida in 2000, they’ve proliferated across the country. Twenty-six states now offer the specialty plate and seven more states are in the process. Russ Amerling of Choose Life, Inc., the Florida non-profit behind the original plate, said it was ‘magnanimous’ of Holck to offer to pay for the plates.
“I’m 68 years old and my vision was to live long enough to see the plate in all 50 states,” he said. “If it dies, it dies, I guess it’s up to the citizens of Hawaii. Hopefully he’ll be successful.”
Amerling, who volunteers as a consultant for states looking to launch their own version of the plate said that “Choose Life” plates have raised $13.5 million for pro-life causes nationally.