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Taxpayer-funded abortion

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1 Taxpayer-funded abortion on Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:45 am


I thought you’d be interested in the op-ed below, published in the Wall Street Journal about our case before the Ohio Elections Commission.

As you know, Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio, one of our Votes Have Consequences targets, didn't like that we were spreading the truth about his vote for taxpayer-funded abortion in Obamacare, so he decided to use a criminal statute in an attempt to silence us.

Well, the voters had the last say, and Rep. Driehaus was soundly kicked out of office on Election night. He will be replaced by Steve Chabot, who during his previous years in Congress had a 100% pro-life voting record and even sponsored the ban on partial-birth abortion.

The case is ongoing, and I'll keep you updated as new developments occur.

Below the Wall Street Journal op-ed, I wanted to share with you just a sampling of additional media coverage we've received since Election Day.

This incredible amount of coverage shows that even mainstream media elites are recognizing that the 112th Congress will be dramatically different from the last. Thanks to our efforts, the voice for the voiceless unborn has been amplified with the addition of courageous pro-life women serving at all levels of office and the consequences of betraying the unborn have been made clear with the defeat of those self-described pro-life Democrats who caved when they were needed most.

Clearly, the pro-life movement flexed its muscles this past election, and that has not gone unnoticed.

We look forward to partnering with you to ensure that our pro-life electoral victories translate to pro-life legislative victories in the upcoming Congress. Get ready to flex those muscles again – we will not stop fighting until the dignity of human life is restored.

For Life,

Emily Buchanan
Executive Director, SBA List

The ACLU Stands Up for Pro-Lifers—Really

By William McGurn

It's not every day these columns praise the American Civil Liberties Union. Even less often will you find the ACLU standing up for pro-lifers. That, however, is exactly what's happening in Ohio—and it tells us a great deal about threats to conviction and free speech in modern American politics.

The ACLU Ohio's client here is the Susan B. Anthony List, or SBA List, a political action committee whose top goal is to elect pro-life women of either party to Congress. The group is run by a D.C. friend of mine, Marjorie Dannenfelser. In this year's races, she targeted 20 House Democrats who voted for the health-care bill. Fifteen of these 20 lost their seats, which makes Mrs. Dannenfelser Public Enemy No. 1 in certain circles.

One of these losers is Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus. During the campaign, the SBA List planned to erect billboards saying, "Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion." Before that could happen, however, Mr. Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) saying the SBA List wording violated a state campaign law against "false statements."

Enter the ACLU Ohio. Carrie Davis, one of the local ACLU lawyers defending the SBA List, directs me to an amicus curiae brief that minces no words: "The people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, the government should not be the arbiter of true or false speech, and the best answer for bad speech is more speech." (For the record, Ms. Davis, who's been honored as a "Champion of Choice" by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, notes that the ACLU does not believe the health-care law allows federal funding for abortion.)

Bradley Smith, a law professor at Capital University and former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission, says the ACLU is absolutely right to take on the Ohio law. "Good lawyers know how to game the system," he says. "You file a complaint, accusing your opponent of making a false statement. When an OEC panel finds 'probable cause' to investigate, you then tell everyone your opponent is a liar and point to a government body as backing up your claim."

That is just what happened in Ohio. The moment Mr. Driehaus filed his complaint, the press reported the OEC investigation and then the finding of probable cause. The billboard company responded by saying it would not run the SBA List ads until the issue was adjudicated. The upshot: Instead of letting the voters decide, a government body put its finger on the scale during the last days of a hotly contested election.

As for the substance, Mrs. Dannenfelser is not backing off her claim that the new health-care law will ultimately mean tax dollars for abortions. She wonders, moreover, how pro-lifers who voted for the Stupak Amendment because they believed the law needed an explicit ban could then settle for a bill stripped of that amendment. "These are legislators," she says. "They know that an executive order cannot trump the law or a court ruling on the law."

Not every Democrat, of course, buys Mr. Driehaus's argument that the bill doesn't mean taxpayer funding for abortion. Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski voted for the Stupak Amendment, against the health-care bill—and was re-elected with nearly 70% of the vote. Mr. Lipinski laments the loss of pro-life Democrats, which he says the party will need to regain if it ever hopes to enjoy a majority again. "In my reading and the reading of most of the people opposed to abortion," he says, "this bill does include federal funding for abortion."

Those upset with these Democratic defeats are painting Mrs. Dannenfelser as a member of the GOP establishment. It's an odd charge to make, and not just because Mrs. Dannenfelser started out as a staffer for West Virginia's Democratic Congressman Alan Mollohan. A week before Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak folded on his own amendment, Mrs. Dannenfelser wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post excoriating the Republican Party for "ignoring" the abortion issue.

Whichever side you come down on, surely we can all agree that it is outrageous that an unelected body of political appointees is deciding who's telling the truth in a campaign.

"The mere allegation creates a chilling effect on speech," says Ms. Davis. "The case may go on and on, but the damage is already done."

So hooray today for two women: for Mrs. Dannenfelser and the SBA List for speaking up for life and holding our pols accountable—and for Ms. Davis and the ACLU Ohio for standing up for their right to do so.

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