The Truth About Driehaus and Abortion

I wonder why people who often cite the Bible to justify their opposition to abortion have to knowingly distort or lie when campaigning against politicians they dislike. The latest example involves the Family Research Council and its $500,000 campaign to

I wonder why people who often cite the Bible to justify their opposition to abortion have to knowingly distort or lie when campaigning against politicians they dislike. The latest example involves the Family Research Council and its $500,000 campaign to target 20 Democratic incumbents in Congress who supported the recent health-care reform bill, which was signed into law last month by President Obama.

One of the people targeted is U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill), who represents Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati.

In a radio commercial that’s already aired in the district represented by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and is likely to be used here, the Family Research Council alleges the reform law will use taxpayer money for abortions through provisions that call for public subsidies, school-based clinic referrals and community health clinics.

“So, how will the bill force us to pay for abortions?” a woman asks in the commercial.

Another replies, “Well, for starters, it allows plans to receive taxpayer subsidies to cover elective abortions and it funds school-based clinics with no restrictions on abortion referrals for young girls. Plus, it gives $11 billion to community health clinics that could pay for abortions.”

That sounds shocking and certainly not like anything that Driehaus, a devout Catholic who is anti-abortion, would support. And he didn’t, because the claims aren’t true.

As several more credible organizations — like Faith in Public Life and PolitiFact — have noted, the reform law approved last month doesn’t allow the use of taxpayer money to provide abortions other than for the same situations previously allowed under the Hyde Amendment, which are rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Anyone who uses federal subsidies to buy health insurance and wants a plan that includes abortion coverage must pay a separate premium using their own money to have that option.

If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself. It’s on pages 779-782 of the bill; there are copies online and at many libraries.

(For those not passionate about the abortion issue, the Hyde Amendment is a provision that Congress has attached to annual spending bills every year since 1976. Think of it as a temporary law that imposes restrictions on abortion funding.)

Further, the new reform law prohibits school-based clinics from providing abortions and requires school-based clinics to comply with whatever parental consent and notification laws exist in their state.

Additionally, community health clinics don’t provide abortions ever since federal regulations were written in the 1970s to prevent it. That hasn’t changed.

What is changing under the new law is that $11 billion will be available for community health clinics so they can treat 20 million more people, mostly low-income and rural residents. That will help strengthen and improve families nationwide, something the council should support.

Also, the Family Research Council and other conservatives have complained that Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal funding for abortion — sought by Driehaus — doesn’t have any legal standing. Which is funny, because those same groups praised President George W. Bush when he signed executive orders in 2001 and 2007 that restricted stem-cell research.

Executive orders have long had the force of law when it comes to federal agencies. As Faith in Public Life has noted, executive orders in the 1950s and ’60s were responsible for desegregating public schools and ending racial discrimination in federal programs.

In a recent fundraising letter, Republican Steve Chabot wrote: “While my opponent, Steve Driehaus, claims to be a prolife Democrat, his voting record tells a completely different story … perhaps his ultimate act of betrayal to the pro-life community came when he supported President Obama’s so-called health care ‘reform’ legislation last month.”

At this point, we’d like to note that Chabot did nothing — zero, zilch, nada — to help expand health-insurance coverage during his previous 14 years in Washington. (UPDATE: OK, he tried to do one thing.)

Let’s not mince words: The Family Research Council and Chabot are lying.


The Ohio Elections Commission has dismissed a complaint filed by Cincinnati Tea Party founder Mike Wilson against a Republican primary opponent in the race for the 28th Ohio House District seat. Wilson had filed a complaint with the commission contesting statements used in a telephone poll recently conducted by Tom Weidman’s campaign.

Specifically, the poll noted that Wilson wasn’t a registered Republican and didn’t have a history of supporting Republican candidates. Wilson filed a complaint days later stating the claims were false.

Attached to Wilson’s complaint were two sworn statements from Sharonville residents who received calls about the poll. One, Brenda Brown, wrote: “I received automated information that Mike Wilson was not a Republican and had not voted Republican for nine years. This seemed strange since this information had nothing to do with the choice I had selected.”

Wilson’s complaint alleged Weidman published a “false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with a reckless disregard of whether it was false or not,” which violates Ohio law.

But records on file at the Hamilton County Board of Elections confirmed Weidman’s statement was true.

In a unanimous vote, the Ohio Elections Commission dismissed Wilson’s complaint April 26.

Weidman is president of the Sycamore Township Board of Trustees and has long been involved in various local GOP races. Most notably, he was campaign manager for then-Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich’s unsuccessful reelection bid in 2006.

“In response to a frivolous claim filed by my opponent, I appeared before the Ohio Elections Commission … and they confirmed by a 4-0 vote that Mike Wilson is not a registered Republican, and I will add that his record lacks evidence of support for Republicans,” Weidman said. “Voters need to know, especially in a primary, about their candidates, their party flag bearers, and they need to know that Mike has not voted in the ’08, ’06, ’04, ’02, ’98 (or) ’96 Republican primaries.”

Wilson is a political newcomer who founded the Cincinnati Tea Party in February 2009. He told CityBeat that Weidman’s statement is actually a positive: “While I’m talking about ideas and the future of Ohio and the 28th District, I have an opponent pointing out that I am not part of the establishment. I should thank him. My conservative record speaks for itself.”

Of course, that begs the question why did Wilson bother to file the complaint in the first place?

Weidman and Wilson are vying against two other candidates in the May 4 Republican primary: former Wyoming City Councilwoman Vicky Zwissler and Sycamore Township resident Jeffrey Paul.

The primary winner will face incumbent Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) in the November general election. The 28th District covers much of northern Hamilton County, including Blue Ash, Forest Park, Montgomery, Sharonville and Woodlawn.

PORKOPOLIS TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 147) or [email protected]

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