A defeated “pro-life” Democratic congressman is still continuing his efforts to shut down a pro-life group he claims lied about his voting record in terms of supporting abortion funding via Obamacare.
Former Rep. Steve Driehaus of Ohio filed a lawsuit against the Susan B. Anthony List after also filing a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission during the waning days of the 2010 elections because SBA wanted to purchase billboards exposing his voting record. The billboards would have informed his constituents that he had voted to support taxpayer funding of abortions by virtue of voting for the ObamaCare bill that all pro-life groups say will eventually fund abortions. The congressman claimed that is false and that the health care reform bill did not contain abortion funding.
Driehaus also complained to Lamar Advertising and successfully persuaded the company to not allow the billboard purchase. But SBA came back with its own advertising and supported pro-life Republican Steve Chabot, the sponsor of the national partial-birth abortion ban who defeated Driehaus in November for re-election to his old seat.
Driehaus withdrew the election complaint that could have resulted in fines or jail time for the pro-life group, although the state may still issue a ruling, but he moved forward with the lawsuit.
“A lie is a lie,” Driehaus’ lawyers wrote in his federal defamation lawsuit, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The First Amendment is not and never has been an invitation to concoct falsehoods aimed at depriving a person of his livelihood.”
Marjorie Dannefelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, provided an update on the situation.
“Former Congressman Steve Driehaus is burying us in legal bills in an effort to shut us down,” she said. “During his re-election race, Rep. Driehaus did everything he could to muzzle the truth we were trying to share– even using criminal statute against us with the threat of stiff fines and jail time. [We] fought back every step of the way. We refused to be intimidated and continued our efforts to share the truth about his vote for taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare. After we defeated him, Rep. Steve Driehaus responded by filing a federal lawsuit charging us with “depriving a person of their livelihood.'”
Dannenfelser said Driehaus is jeopardizing the livelihood of staff at the pro-life group, saying SBA has already received a bill for $76,000 in legal fees for just the past two months alone and SBA has been forced to increase its fundraising efforts to pay nearly $164,000 in legal fees since the beginning in fund that could have gone to pro-life efforts.
“This outrageous lawsuit is bleeding us dry,” Dannenfelser said. “This court battle has been draining us for months. We absolutely cannot let Steve Driehaus achieve his ultimate goal: to shut us down.”
“In order to continue our work, we can’t let a disgruntled, defeated politician shut us down,” Dannenfelser continued. “That’s his goal. He wants to shut us down by burying us in court filings and suffocating us with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills. We refuse to be bullied. We must continue to be voices for those voiceless unborn babies who will never experience the joys of Life because of politicians like Rep. Driehaus who turned his back on them.”
The SBA president believes her group will win the legal case, saying, “Even the liberal ACLU has backed up our right to free speech, writing in an Amicus Brief in our support.”