Outgoing congressman Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) has filed a federal defamation lawsuit against the Susan B. Anthony List, charging that the political pro-life group’s campaign against his election deprived him of his livelihood. The group denied the charge.
The SBA List’s campaign statements against Rep. Driehaus, a self-described pro-life Democrat, claimed that he supported taxpayer-funded abortion because he voted for the national health care law.
Driehaus said the claim is false and the legislation bars any federal funding of abortion.
"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."
SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser claimed that the lawsuit was an attempt to shut down criticism, stating that the voters, not the pro-life group, deprived the congressman of his position. She said the congressman “caved” on the health care vote and “paid the price on Election Day.”
“Now he wants exclusive rights to describing that vote to his constituents and, in a democracy, that just isn't possible,” she continued.
Dannenfelser argued that all major pro-life organizations and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded that the health care bill allows taxpayer funding of abortion.
“The SBA List will continue to defend that truth and the right to criticize our elected officials," she said.
In October Driehaus filed a criminal complaint against the SBA List charging that the organization violated Ohio law against making false statements in a campaign advertisement. He later asked that the complaint be dropped.
Driehaus lost the November 2010 election to Steve Chabot, a Republican, by 52 to 45 percent.