AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced grants to 13 nonprofit organizations to help promote adoption across Texas. More than $46,000 is being distributed in the inaugural round of grants from funds raised by sales of the “Choose Life” specialty license plates that were authorized by the Texas Legislature under a 2011 law.

“Every day across Texas, children are adopted into loving families who provide for their needs and raise them to be healthy and happy adults,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Choose Life grants will enable recipient organizations to build on the good work they are already doing and help adoption become a reality for even more children and families in the Lone Star State.”

The 13 Choose Life grant recipients are (see list at end of the release for further detail):

Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, Inc. (Brazos County); Austin LifeCare (Travis County); Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, Inc. (Dallas County); Community Pregnancy Center of Pasadena (Harris County); Corpus Christi Hope House, Inc. (Nueces County); Foundation for Life (Harris County); The Gladney Center for Adoption (Tarrant County); Highland Lakes Pregnancy Resource Center (Llano County); Houston Pregnancy Help Center, Inc. (Harris County); Involved for Life, Inc. (Dallas County); The John Paul II Life Center (Travis County); Pregnancy Help 4 U, Inc. (Denton County); Pregnancy Resource Center of Lake Ray Hubbard (Rockwall County)

Choose Life license plates were authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2011. SB 257, sponsored by Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, and Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, instructed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a “Choose Life” specialty license plate. Proceeds from the sale of those plates are deposited in a “Choose Life” account in the general revenue fund, and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is charged with administering those funds to encourage adoption as an alternative to abortion.

Choose Life plates debuted in November 2011. Of the $30 Texas drivers pay for the plate, $22 is deposited in the Choose Life account; $7.50 is deposited in the State Highway Fund for Department of Motor Vehicles administrative expenses; and $0.50 is retained by the counties. At the end of Fiscal Year 2013, Texas drivers had purchased almost 2,300 Choose Life license plates, and the balance of the Choose Life account was $52,481.61.

Decisions on the Choose Life grants were guided by the allowable activities detailed in the statute, the quality of applications submitted, and availability of funds in the Choose Life account. The OAG also consulted with the seven-member Choose Life Advisory Committee, which Attorney General Abbott appointed earlier this year. SB 257 authorized the committee and charged the attorney general with appointing members to “review and make recommendations to the attorney general on applications submitted to the attorney general for grants funded with money credited to the ‘Choose Life’ account.”

Attorney General Abbott continued: “My heartfelt thanks go to the members of the Choose Life Advisory Committee for their commitment, compassion and expertise in helping my office make the best possible use of the Choose Life funds.”

The seven members of the Choose Life Advisory Committee during the grant review process: Judy Canon, Carol Everett, Kathy Haigler, Lois Kerschen, Matt Kouri, Mikeal Love, M.D., and Julie Stobbe.