Citizens Have a Right to Know How Politicians Vote on Abortion

pregnant woman
Life Legal Defense Foundation has filed a “friend of the court” brief in a controversial case revolving around an Ohio congressman’s vote supporting Obamacare and public opposition to his campaign. (©Lanak/StockFreeImages.com)

The Life Legal Defense Foundation has filed a “friend of the court” brief in a controversial case revolving around an Ohio congressman’s vote supporting Obamacare and public opposition to his campaign by the Susan B. Anthony List. The litigation is currently on appeal in federal court in Cincinnati.

In 2010, Congressman Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, blamed defeat in his bid for re-election on the Susan B. Anthony List and went so far as to sue the group for defamation. In the lawsuit, Driehaus alleged the pro-life group—committed to electing pro-life candidates—cost him his job and a “loss of livelihood” by educating constituents about his vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act. One of the group's efforts consisted of erecting billboards in his district, stating that by voting for the act, Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortion.

The arguments in the case center around using public information to influence a campaign.

Abortion Funding in Obamacare

Despite the clear evidence of expanded taxpayer funding of abortion, the outcome of the lawsuit turns on the court's opinion about whether the Affordable Care Act does so.

“This brief lays out the numerous ways in which it does expand taxpayer funding,” states Dana Cody, president and executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. “As such, Susan B. Anthony List’s political advertisements were objectively true, and this lawsuit is exposed for what it really is—an attack on pro-life speech.”

Legislator Voting Records

The Susan B. Anthony List ran a “Votes Have Consequences” program targeting Democrats who claimed pro-life positions. The purpose of the initiative was to hold Congress members accountable for their votes on Obamacare. In the 2010 election, U.S. representatives who had supported the Affordable Care Act and its expanded taxpayer funding of abortion were “outed” to their constituents.

Who Decides Truth?

In a related case, the Susan B. Anthony List is challenging the Ohio election law that allows the Ohio Elections Commission to decide the truth or falsity of some political advertisements. The commission’s arbitrary decision that the truth about a congressman’s voting record can be deemed false and thereby illegal to use in countering a political campaign borders on dangerous violation of constitutionally guaranteed free speech.

“It violates the law for a pro-life political organization to speak the truth about a congressman’s voting record?” questions Cody. “What has happened to free speech and the marketplace of ideas? We trust that this misguided Ohio law will be overturned and that Susan B. Anthony List and others will be free to speak the truth without fear.”


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