PRESS RELEASE: Cincinnati-area Faith Leaders Challenge False Political Advertising Campaign

Posted October 08, 2010

Susan B. Anthony List Billboards Distort Steve Driehaus' Voting Record

Cincinnati, OH – Faith and community leaders joined local members of Catholics United today in speaking out against a planned billboard advertising campaign by the group Susan B. Anthony List. In an open letter, the leaders asked the group to stop making the false claim that Congressman Steve Driehaus (OH-01) voted to expand federal funding of abortion. Numerous independent fact-checks have refuted this inaccurate argument. In fact, Rep. Driehaus led a fight earlier this year to ensure that the health care reform bill did not include elective abortion funding.

The release of the letter – signed by 36 leaders, including 11 Catholic nuns – comes as the Ohio Election Commission prepares to hear a legal challenge the Driehaus campaign filed against the ad campaign. Catholics United submitted an affidavit to the commission in support of the challenge. News reports indicate that the billboards will not go up until the case is resolved.

“Once again, the Susan B. Anthony List has twisted the truth about Steve Driehaus' voting record in order to score cheap political points and influence the upcoming election,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “Their deceptive rhetoric is a disservice to democracy. Voters deserve better.”

This is not the first time Susan B. Anthony List has resorted to dishonest tactics to improperly influence the First District congressional race. In August, the group brought activists in from out of state as part of a bus tour attacking Rep. Driehaus and other pro-life Democrats who supported health care reform by falsely alleging that the bill provided federal funding of abortion. Local members of Catholics United turned out to protest and refute Susan B. Anthony List’s false claims about abortion funding in health care reform.

Regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge, Catholics United members will continue to work to set the record straight about Rep. Driehaus’s record and health care reform. This landmark legislation not only protects longstanding restrictions on federal funding of abortion, but also reflects pro-life values by extending needed health care to millions of Americans.

Numerous key provisions of the law took effect on September 23. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions or drop policyholders’ coverage when they get sick. Health plans are now prohibited from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Young adults who need coverage can now remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Uninsured adults who could not get coverage because of a pre-existing condition now have access to temporary high-risk pools until permanent health care exchanges are implemented. New health plans must also cover preventive services such as blood pressure checkups, cholesterol tests and routine vaccinations.

Following is the full text of the letter, which can also be found at www.catholics-united.org/cincinnati-sba-letter:

STOP THE LIES
STOP THE ATTACK ADS

An Open Letter from Faith Leaders in Cincinnati

As people of faith who believe in upholding the dignity of life, we deplore the misleading and partisan attacks on Rep. Steve Driehaus from the Susan B. Anthony List, a national group responsible for a series of inflammatory and misleading billboards going up in Cincinnati this month.

These billboards, part of an ongoing campaign by the Susan B. Anthony List, not only misrepresent Congressman Driehaus’ efforts to protect life and uphold the common good, they contradict what is actually in the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010. The bill maintains current restrictions prohibiting taxpayer funds for abortions and provides additional health care supports for pregnant women. Rep. Driehaus and others also fought for and won a presidential executive order that reaffirms these same restrictions.

These attacks tear at the fiber of our democracy by fomenting fear and misinformation around the critical issue of health care. We urge that the Susan B. Anthony List to suspend its false allegations.