Anti-Choice Group Can Be Sued For Defamation, Because It Was Lying

A judge is allowing former Ohio congressman Steve Driehaus to sue the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List for defamation, because as he sensibly pointed out, they were lying about whether abortion is "taxpayer-funded" under the Affordable Care Act.

The irony is that Driehaus is anti-choice. He did, however, vote for health insurance reform, which meant that SBA decided to run the above billboards against him. Despite the fact that abortion is never paid for by federal funds (except extremely limited cases of rape and incest victims on Medicaid) and the ACA didn't change the status quo, anti-choicers have been obsessed with insisting that it does by focusing on federal subsidies to private plans. In fact, after the fight over Stupak-Pitts and abortion nearly derailed the entire proceedings, pro-choicers were the ones wringing their hands over what Planned Parenthood called "unacceptable provisions on abortion." Those were the ones outlined in an executive order affirming the Hyde Amendment and emphasizing enforcement of existing separation of federal funds and abortion services.

None of this stops anti-choicers from making shit up. When, in the 2010 congressional elections, the Susan B. Anthony List did it to an anti-abortion Democrat, he filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Committee. SBA then insisted in a federal complain that "its ads were based on the group's own interpretation of the law. The billboard was taken down but radio ads and flyers against Driehaus continued, according to court documents. Driehaus then countersued SBA List for defamation," according to Politico. He lost, by the way.

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The judge wrote in yesterday's ruling that "the express language of the PPACA does not provide for taxpayer funded abortion. That is a fact and it is clear on its face." SBA countered that they believed the claim to be true, or at least "protected opinion," and argued that there had been no malice. The next step is discovery, where Driehaus's lawyer says, "We will find the SBA List either ignored the truth or purposely did not seek it out when making these claims." Imagine that.

Judge: Abortion Funding Not In ACA [Politico]