Local Ohio Pro-life Leaders Back SBA list in Fight for Free Speech, Truth About Health Care

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List released statements from ten local pro-life leaders in the Cincinnati-area and across Ohio in support of their fight against a complaint filed by Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH-01) with the Ohio Elections Commission.  The complaint, spurred by the SBA List’s intention to put up four billboards across his district and filed on Tuesday, October 6th, alleges that the SBA List is falsely accusing him of voting for taxpayer funding of abortion as a result of his vote in support of the health care bill.  A lawyer representing Rep. Driehaus convinced Lamar Companies not to put up the billboards until the matter was settled by the Ohio Elections Commission, stifling the free speech of the Susan B. Anthony List.

“Local pro-life leaders overwhelmingly agree that Steve Driehaus voted for taxpayer funding of abortion when he cast his health care vote,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.  “And Steve Driehaus’ threats to silence his critics have fallen on deaf ears.  These leaders are working tirelessly to spread the truth in their communities about the pro-abortion health care bill that he voted for.  They aid our mission to get constituents the information they deserve and echo the support of the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in our fight to preserve constitutionally-protected free speech.”

Below are statements from Cincinnati-area and Ohio pro-life leaders:

Paula Westwood, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Executive Director: “The Susan B. Anthony List has the right to publicize any legislator’s voting record and their opinion of it.  This is a basic American principle.  The Susan B. Anthony List is correct that Congressman Steve Driehaus voted for a bill that includes federal funding for abortion.  Congressman Driehaus can disagree, but legal action against those he disagrees with is blatant disregard for free speech rights, which a public office holder should understand and uphold.”

Mike Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life, Executive Director: “Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for a pro-abortion health care bill and now attempts to hide behind an executive order signed by President Obama.  Not only is the executive order not worth the paper it is written on as it cannot trump statutory law, but it repeats the accounting gimmick that allows for federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion.  Ohio Right to Life Society stands with the Susan B. Anthony List in its efforts to spread the truth about Rep. Steve Driehaus.”

Ken Blackwell, Family Research Council, Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment; Former Mayor of Cincinnati; Former Ohio Secretary of State: “The health care bill that Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for is a death sentence to an untold number of innocent unborn babies and he knows it.  Rep. Driehaus had the opportunity to stand up to President Obama and Speaker Pelosi and demand real protections for the unborn but, instead, he caved to party pressure.  Rep. Driehaus put politics above principle, betrayed the great people of western Ohio, and now is gasping for air as his political career comes to an end.  Desperate times call for desperate actions, and going out of his way to make criminals out of a respected pro-life group is truly, truly desperate.  The Susan B. Anthony List is telling the truth about Rep. Steve Driehaus, and he should be ashamed for trying to muzzle it.”

Jennifer Giroux, Human Life International America, Executive Director: “Rep. Steve Driehaus cannot hide the pattern and truth of his own actions.  Before the last election, he asked then Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to come to Cincinnati the week before the election to raise him money.  She was best known for protecting George Tiller’s illegal late term abortions in Kansas.  Now he wants to cover up his vote for taxpayer funded abortion by silencing those who courageously expose it.  Thank you, Susan B. Anthony List, for your efforts to get this truth out to the voters.  Rep. Driehaus is not pro-life.  He knows he cannot fool the voters twice.”

Lori Viars, Family First, Executive Director: “It is a fact that Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for taxpayer funding of abortion in health care legislation.  This fact is confirmed by National Right to Life, Ohio Right to Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This fact is confirmed by the need for an executive order, signed by the most pro-abortion president in our history, to “fix” the bill that Driehaus voted for. Not only is the executive order not worth the paper it is written on, as it cannot trump statutory law, but it repeats the accounting gimmick that allows for federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion.  Steve Driehaus’ attempt to muzzle debate and squash free speech is frightening.  Debate over Driehaus’ record should occur in the public square, not in the courts or before the Ohio Elections Commission.  Shame on Steve Driehaus for attacking a respected pro-life group.”

Dr. Jack Wilke, Life Issues Institute, President; National Right to Life, Former President and Brad Mattes, Life Issues Institute, Executive Director: “Life Issues Institute supports the Susan B. Anthony List in its mission to protect women and children from the violence of abortion.  Unfortunately, the health care reform bill passed by Congress and supported by Rep. Steve Driehaus does not do that as it contains an accounting gimmick that allows for federal subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion.  The Susan B. Anthony List is being truthful in its advertising and we hope that its constitutional right to free speech will ultimately be protected.”

Bobbi Radeck, Concerned Women for America, Ohio State Director: “Rep. Steve Driehaus’ efforts to criminalize free speech and his attacks on a pro-life organization are shameful.  Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and our more than 27,000 members in Ohio stand by pro-life organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List in their assertion that the health care bill that Rep. Driehaus voted for allows for taxpayer funding of abortion.  Pro-life activists in Ohio are working around the clock to ensure that citizens across the state know that a vote for the Obama-Pelosi health care bill was a vote for taxpayer funding of abortion, no matter how much Rep. Steve Driehaus tries to muddy the water.”

Phil Burress, Citizens for Community Values Action, President: “Steve Driehaus’ constituents deserve to know that he voted for a pro-abortion health care bill.  He is hiding behind a criminal statute in a desperate attempt to hide his record long enough to win re-election.  Not only is Driehaus stubbornly denying the fact that the health care bill funds abortion with Ohio tax dollars, but he is infringing on a pro-life organization’s right to free speech.  Driehaus should be ashamed that he voted against the will of his constituents by voting for a bill that funds abortion and, also, for attempting to prosecute an organization for exercising the constitutional rights that he was elected to uphold.”

Chris Long, Ohio Christian Alliance, President: “The Ohio Christian Alliance supports the Susan B. Anthony List in their efforts to expose the truth about taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill that Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for.  We sent Rep. Driehaus a questionnaire for our annual voting guide for Christians across Ohio that contained questions about his support for federal funding of abortion. Unfortunately, he didn’t respond.  Rep. Driehaus needs to be more forthcoming about his record and we urge him to drop his legal proceedings against the Susan B. Anthony List who has a right to criticize his record.”

Rep. Steve Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission on Tuesday, October 6th alleging that the Susan B. Anthony List is falsely accusing him of voting for taxpayer funding of abortion as a result of his vote in support of the health care bill.  The complaint was spurred by the Susan B. Anthony List’s intention to put up four billboards across his congressional district.  Rep. Driehaus’ attorney convinced Lamar Companies not to put up the billboards in order to avoid being added to the complaint.  The Election Commission’s staff attorney recommended that Driehaus’ complaint be dismissed, but a three-member probable cause panel of the Commission voted 2 to 1 to hold a full hearing to decide if SBA List broke Ohio law by putting false statements on its billboards.  That hearing was later set for October 28th. 

On Monday, October 18th, the SBA List filed a federal lawsuit with a U.S. District Court arguing that Ohio’s election laws are unconstitutional and that Rep. Driehaus and his lawyers are violating the free speech rights of the SBA List.  On Tuesday, October 19, the SBA List announced a $50,000 radio ad buy across Rep. Driehaus’ district to continue to spread its message.  On Wednesday, October 20, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio filed an Amicus Brief in support of the SBA List’s case.

The Susan B. Anthony List plans to spend $6 million on voter education in the midterm elections, including $3 million on key Senate and House races. The Susan B. Anthony List is a nationwide network of over 280,000 Americans, residing in all 50 states, dedicated to mobilizing, advancing, and representing pro-life women in politics.  Its connected Candidate Fund increases the percentage of pro-life women in the political process.

                                                                                                                                

For further information, please contact Kerry Brown at (703) 470-1926 or kbrown@sba-list.org.

 

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