By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National Right to Life Committee is stepping up to the plate to defend a national pro-life political action committee that has been charged by a pro-life Democrat with criminally misleading voters about his vote in favor of the national health care law sought by President Barack Obama.
U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, the incumbent Democrat in Ohio’s 1st District, filed a criminal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), charging that the PAC’s claim that he voted for taxpayer funded abortion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is “factually untrue.”
Driehaus is taking a beating in the polls to pro-life GOP candidate Steve Chabot, who is endorsed by SBA-List and leads the incumbent congressman by 12 points. Adding insult to injury, national Democrats have given up on Driehaus’s campaign and are reallocating money to races they think they can save from the coming GOP surge in November.
The Commission is set to hear oral arguments for both sides Thursday morning at 8:30 in Columbus, Ohio. If the commission finds that the SBA List violated Ohio law by publishing "a false statement concerning the voting record of a candidate or public official," then it becomes a criminal matter with penalties ranging from a five thousand dollar fine to six months in jail.
Democrats for Life and Catholics United have both submitted affidavits for Driehaus claiming that the federal health care legislation does not fund abortion.
But the NRLC has intervened on the side of SBA List with a sworn affidavit detailing precisely why the national health care reform law actually does allow federal subsidies for elective abortions.
"It is outrageous the Ohio law allows an incumbent politician, like Steve Driehaus, to haul citizens before an appointed government tribunal, under threat of potential criminal prosecution, for expressing an opinion about the public policy implications of a vote that he cast in Congress,” said NRLC’s Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
In the 23-page affidavit, prepared and sworn to by Johnson, NRLC argues against Driehaus’s claims in 65 detailed and numbered paragraphs that the Affordable Care Act “does not permit and in fact prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions.”
NRLC counters that the PPACA actually contains “multiple provisions that do in fact authorize (i.e., create legal authority for) taxpayer funding of abortion, and that predictably will result in such funding in the future” unless the law is either repealed or fixed along the lines of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.
The affidavit also discusses four specific programs where the PPACA authorizes abortion or where abortion would become funded if Congress failed to renew the annual Hyde Amendment. NRLC points to problems surrounding the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Programs (PCIPs), the program of federal tax-based subsidies to purchase private health plans, the appropriation of $7 billion in new funding for Community Health Centers, and the section creating "multi-state" health plans to be administered by the federal Office of Personnel Management, to name a few examples.
"There are no directives in the Order that apply to all, or even to most, of the provisions of the PPACA,” said Johnson, who pointed out President Obama’s executive order obtained by Stupak has such an “extremely narrow and highly qualified” scope that even the president of Planned Parenthood called it "a symbolic gesture."
The NRLC affidavit has 16 documents attached as exhibits, including a legal analysis of the health law's abortion provisions performed by attorneys for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, documentation proving state PCIP plans for Pennsylvania and New Mexico covered elective abortions when they were first approved by the U.S. Health Department, as well as a Congressional Research Service report that stated nothing in the PPACA or Obama’s Executive Order actually prevented funds for PCIPs from paying for elective abortions.
“In America, anyone should be free to express their views on the effects of the bills that Mr. Driehaus voted for, without fear of criminal prosecution or fines,” said Johnson. “Mr. Driehaus enjoys full freedom to dispute his critics, with the voters as the ultimate judges about whose claims are most credible.”
The NRLC affidavit and documents submitted as supporting evidence to the Ohio Election Commission can be viewed at or downloaded from the NRLC website here.
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Driehaus, Dahlkemper Lash Out at Pro-Life Counter Campaigns