A self-described, pro-life Democratic congressman from Ohio has won an initial battle to keep an anti-abortion group from posting billboards that accuse him of voting for tax-funded abortions.
U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus says that the pro-life group the Susan B. Anthony List is lying about his record when it claims that by voting for Obamacare he voted for tax-funded abortions. Driehaus filed a complaint with the state elections commission to prevent the ad campaign, and on Thursday a three-member panel voted to allow the case to go to a full hearing in front of the Ohio Elections Commission.
Driehaus, who is facing Republican Steve Chabot, is basing his complaint on a criminal statute that makes it illegal to make "a false statement concerning the voting record of a candidate or public official." Chabot previously held the seat but lost to Driehaus in 2008.
“The information is factually untrue and this is just another attempt by Steve Chabot’s supporters to spread false information,” Driehaus said Thursday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The Susan B. Anthony List is doing everything they can to attack pro-life Democrats, not because of what we achieved in the health care bill but because they're partisan.”
"In an act of desperation and fear, Rep. Steve Driehaus is attempting to use a criminal statute to silence his critics," Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser responded to LifeNews.com. "It is a fact that Steve Driehaus has voted for a bill that includes taxpayer funding of abortion."
The Susan B. Anthony List is not the only one who believes that. According to a release on the group's website, other prominent organizations agree:
The fact that the health care reform bill allows for taxpayer funding of abortion has been agreed upon by every major pro-life group in the country, including National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, Focus on the Family, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Dannenfelser tells LifNews.com that the only groups that support Driehaus's claim to the contrary are the "partisan Democrats for Life of America and the splinter group, Catholics United."
CNN's Dan Gildorf wrote on his blog that the Ohio billboard case proves the abortion issue is an important one in this election, and framed the arguments of both sides:
Conservative groups allege that the healthcare bill funds abortion by allowing Americans to buy into government subsidized healthcare exchanges in which abortion is covered.
Progressive groups note that the bill requires abortion funding in such plans to come from private premiums. Conservatives have dismissed such claims of segregated funding as an accounting trick.
"At the very least one must conclude that the point is one of national dispute rather than one that comes under a criminal statute that is designed to punish blatant falsehoods," Dannenfelser added.
For now, the billboards remain unpublished pending the Commission's findings.