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Court Sides With Former Rep. Driehaus in Susan B. Anthony List Lawsuit

Court Sides With Former Rep. Driehaus in Susan B. Anthony List Lawsuit

August 2, 2011 — A federal judge ruled Monday that the antiabortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List was false in claiming in campaign ads against then-Rep. Steven Driehaus (D-Ohio) that the federal health reform law (PL 111-148) includes taxpayer funding for abortion, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/1).

During Driehaus' campaign for the 2010 election, which he ultimately lost to Rep. Steve Chabot (R), SBA List sponsored ads claiming that Driehaus' vote to support the health reform law amounted to support for taxpayer-funded abortion. U.S. District Judge Timothy Black wrote in his opinion, "The express language of (the health reform law) does not provide for taxpayer-funded abortion," adding, "That is a fact, and it is clear on its face." Black's decision allows Driehaus' lawsuit against SBA List to move forward.

Black on Monday also tossed out SBA List's suit against Driehaus that challenged Ohio's handling of disputes over campaign ads. At issue in the suit were billboards the group planned to erect stating, "Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion." Driehaus asked the Ohio Election Commission to intervene on the grounds that the billboards violated Ohio election law by making "false claims" (Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer, 8/1). The commission sided with Driehaus, ruling that there was "probable cause" that SBA List violated Ohio law by making false statements in an elections campaign (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/15/10).

Black said he had no jurisdiction in the case because the commission never made a final ruling and the billboards were never erected. SBA List and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, which also sued Driehaus, said they would appeal (Cincinnati Enquirer, 8/1).