OH Elections Commission Rules Against SBA List in False Advertising Complaint
Late last week, the Ohio Elections Commission ruled that US Representative Steve Driehaus (D-OH) can proceed with his complaint that the Susan B Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, is intentionally lying to distort his record. According to CNN, Driehaus seeks to prevent the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) from erecting four billboards claiming that he supports federally funded abortions because he voted for the national health care reform bill.
The ruling establishes that there will be another hearing in order to determine whether the SBA List has violated Ohio law. If the SBA List is found to be in violation of campaign law, which prohibits groups from making false statements in campaigns, it may face a public reprimand or prosecution resulting in fines or jail time, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the health care reform bill has been attacked by every major pro-life group in the country for its allowance of taxpayer-funded abortion services. However, Driehaus has been quick to emphasize that the health care bill does not introduce any new federal funding for abortion, since the 1970 Hyde Amendment permits government-funded abortions in situations of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life. CNN notes that the bill also states that abortion services must be covered by private premiums, even in government subsidized healthcare exchanges.
According to CNN, the SBA List has been specifically targeting pro-life Democrats who voted for the health care reform bill. The group has strongly condemned the Ohio Election Commission's ruling. SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Commission has enabled Driehaus "to achieve his strategic objective of preventing constituents from learning the truth about his vote in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion." She continued, "We will use every vehicle possible within our First Amendment rights to communicate this message to the people of...Driehaus' district between now and the hearing."
Media Resources: CNN 10/15/10; Cincinnati Enquirer 10/14/10