PRESS RELEASE: Erie-Area Religious and Community Leaders Call on Susan B. Anthony List to Suspend False Election Ads

Posted October 21, 2010

Erie, PA – Fifty-four religious and community leaders - including nuns, priests, ministers, and business owners - released a statement today calling on the self-described pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List to end its deceptive advertising campaign against Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03). SBA List is currently running billboard and radio ads in Erie County which inaccurately claim that Dahlkemper allowed taxpayer funding of abortion by voting for the health care reform act earlier this year. Multiple independent analyses and media fact-checks have shown this claim to be untrue.

The Susan B. Anthony List is at the center of a legal dispute in neighboring Ohio over whether an identical ad campaign aimed at Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH-01) violated a state law prohibiting false electioneering claims. Earlier this month, the Ohio Elections Commission found probable cause that SBA List had acted illegally. An investigation is pending.

“It saddens me that the Susan B. Anthony List has resorted to deceptive advertising in order to score cheap political points,” said Sister Marlene Bertke, OSB of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. “Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper fought hard to ensure that the health care reform act did not include federal funding of abortion, and for that she deserves the respect and support of the pro-life community. We implore the Susan B. Anthony List and its affiliated organizations to end this partisan and deceptive campaign immediately.”

Among the letter's signers are 22 Catholic nuns. The full text of the letter is included below, and full list of signers is available at


As people of faith who believe in upholding the dignity of life, we deplore the misleading and partisan attacks on Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper from the Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, and other national organizations responsible for a series of inflammatory and misleading ads being distributed across Erie County.

These ads are part of an ongoing campaign by outside organizations to misrepresent Rep. Dahlkemper’s efforts to protect life and uphold the common good. They also clearly contradict what is actually in the Affordable Health Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010. The bill maintains all current restrictions prohibiting taxpayer funds for abortions and provides additional health care supports for pregnant women. Rep. Dahlkemper 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 the Susan B. Anthony List and other organizations to stop these false allegations and end the attacks.