In an update to the lawsuits and campaign finance complaints being filed against anti-choice front groups targeting anti-choice Democrats, Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio won a key victory as the elections commission agreed that the group was in fact engaging in false advertising.
A three-member panel of the Ohio Elections Commission ruled in favor of U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus today in his complaint against the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.
The ruling angered several pro-life groups who said Ohio elections law unfairly restricts free speech.
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The panel’s “probable cause” finding means there will be another hearing to determine if the group broke Ohio law that bars making false statements in campaigns. Driehaus is up for re-election on Nov. 2. In the meantime, attorneys for both sides can begin taking sworn depositions.
Driehaus, a Democrat from West Price Hill, is fighting the group’s plans to erect four billboards saying he favored taxpayer-funded abortions because he voted for the national health care bill.
Driehaus’ Cincinnati attorney, Paul DeMarco, intends to depose SBA members to find out what they consider federal funding of abortions.
“They’re actually conceding the argument that there is no new federal funding,” Driehaus said.
Of coures, the Susan B. Anthony List still claims they are totally in the right. From Politico:
In an act of desperation and fear, Rep. Steve Driehaus is attempting to use a criminal statute to silence his critics. It is a fact that Steve Driehaus has voted for a bill that includes taxpayer funding of abortion. His own affidavit refers to an Executive order which purports to undo the harms of the actual bill for which he voted. The bill retains the language which Rep. Bart Stupak referred to as an ‘accounting gimmick’ that allows for federal dollars to go to insurance plans that cover abortion….
We are confident that the Ohio Elections commission and, most importantly, the people of Steve Driehaus’ congressional district will see through this heavy-handed attempt to silence free speech in the public sphere. Because of these tactics, we will spend more resources to make sure that Steve Driehaus’ constituents know the truth of his vote.”
Ben Smith says that since both sides “honestly believe” they are right about the federal funding of abortion question, the Ohio Commission really can’t be the arbitrator of who’s right or wrong. But that’s like saying since both sides “honestly believe” their views on how the earth was created, schools should have to allow creationists to have equal time in the classroom.
In the meantime, SBA accusations are not going unanswered. According to CNN:
Last week, the group announced it is partnering with other socially conservative outfits to spend $240,000 in TV ads “highlighting pro-abortion health care votes of so-called ‘pro-life Democrats.'”
The ads target Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper and Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly.
The conservative campaign against self-described “pro-life” Democratic lawmakers has spurred a handful of relatively new left-leaning faith groups to come to their defense.
In Ohio, a group called Catholics United released a letter this month signed by 36 Cincinnati clergy and lay leaders, including 11 Catholic nuns, denouncing allegations that Driehaus’ healthcare vote begat government-funded abortion.
In Virginia, a related group, called the Matthew 25 Network, is launching a radio ad Monday on behalf of Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello – who has also come under attack by religious conservatives – that lauds his Christian faith and his values.
“These were folks who took a courageous stand on healthcare reform, who led the fight to make sure there was no abortion funding in the bill” said Catholics United Executive Director Chris Korzen of the Democratic lawmakers his group is seeking to help.
“We knew that conservative groups like Susan B. Anthony List would be after them,” Korzen said, “And we wanted to make sure there was an organized presence to set the record straight.”
Mini Roundup: Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns is still pushing “fetal pain” regulations based on faulty science, although he admits that there’s no way congress can get an actual “pain based” ban through currently. And the so-called “fetal pain” abortion ban goes into effect today in his home state.
October 15, 2010
- Maternal health – Vancouver Courier
- Changing Lives Through Comprehensive Sexuality Education – Times of Swaziland
- Science Sees HIV Protein’s ‘Dance’ – Softpedia
- RP defends half-billion dollar handouts to poor – ABS CBN News
- National Latino AIDS Awareness Day raises concerns about funding – Examiner.com
- African women church leaders from Eastern and Southern Africa meet to tackle – The Southern Times
- ASIA: Sex workers trade condoms for job security – IRINnews.org
- Abortion Wars: “40 Days For Life” Vs. Planned Parenthood Is Quiet So Far – Houston Press (blog)
- Maternal health care professionals’perspectives on the provision and use of … – 7thSpace Interactive (press release)
- Candidate’s abortion stance crucial – Green Bay Press Gazette
- Senate to tackle own version of RH bill Monday – GMANews.TV
- Miller: Another wacky election year – Summit Daily News
- Doctor loses license over Elkton abortion scheme – Cecil Whig
- Government of Canada Supports Prevention Workshops for Aboriginal Youth – PR-USA.net (press release)
- Boxer makes abortion rights an issue in Senate race – Los Angeles Times
- Ohio ruling casts light on abortion as midterm issue – CNN (blog)
October 14, 2010
- Many stillborns “preventable”: study – TVNZ
- Has Oberstar met his match? – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Legislator: Scott Backs Ban on Abortions – The Ledger
- 11 Ways to Take Care of Your Sexual Health – MSN Health & Fitness
- Boxer blasts Fiorina’s position on abortion – abc7.com
- Abortion laws here to stay: Qld govt – Sydney Morning Herald
- Elections panel sides with Rep. Steve Driehaus in abortion flap – Cincinnati.com
- New abortion law goes into effect Friday – KHAS-TV
- Prominent Evangelical Pundit Accuses Obama of “Abusing” Faith-Based Office – Religion Dispatches
- New York Post: Paladino leases to abortion clinic – WXXA
- Boxer plays abortion card in Hollywood – Politico
- Triple Chance of HIV Diagnosis for Hispanics than Caucasians – Suite101.com
- Holland: Brownback should denounce pastor – NTV
- Buerkle’s anti-abortion stand important – Penfield Post
- New polls show rising support for gay marriage, little change on abortion – Associated Baptist Press
- Fiscal questions dominate in otherwise quiet year for referendums – Catholic Sentinel
- Ohio commission rules on abortion – Politico (blog)
- Neb. senator seeks talks in Congress on fetal pain – The Associated Press
- Abortion accused want ‘normal lives’ back – Cairns Post
- Anti-Abortionist Paladino Is Planned Parenthood Landlord – Gothamist
- NARAL hits Donovan for funding misleading pregnancy center – WNYC
- Richmond County School Leaders Address Proposed Sex Education Program Controversy – WJBF-TV
- Elections Commission backs Driehaus – Cincinnati.com (blog)
- Reform unlikely after abortion verdict – Sydney Morning Herald