Conservatives and media promoted three big lies about the health care law. The law included death panels, it funded abortions, and it was a government takeover of the health care system. All three lies were used very effectively in the 2010 midterm elections.
A plain reading of the statute, without spin or attenuated slippery-slope reasoning revealed all three assertions as lies, but it seemed no one was willing to simply state what was in the law, and what wasn’t.
A federal judge in Ohio said Monday that the Affordable Care Act does not provide for taxpayer funding for abortion. The statement was the cornerstone of the judge’s ruling to allow a defamation lawsuit brought against the Susan B. Anthony List by a former congressman to move forward.
Former Ohio Representative Steve Driehaus sued the SBA List for defamation of character during the 2010 election cycle, when the anti-abortion group ran an ad campaign on the premise that Driehaus had voted for a bill “that includes taxpayer funding for abortion,” in reference to Driehaus’s vote in favor of the ACA. Driehaus, an anti-abortion Democrat, had initially filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission over a billboard that said he’d voted for “taxpayer funding for abortion.” The OEC found probable cause that the statement was false, and the SBA List filed a complaint in federal court 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. SBA List is ready to go to trial, stands by its statements and said the ruling “chills free speech.” “Steve Driehaus’s constituents saw the truth about his pro-abortion record and made their voices heard on Election Day,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Their conclusion — that Steve Driehaus voted for a bill allowing taxpayer funding of abortion — is backed by every major pro-life organization in the country along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Congressional Research Service and other nonpartisan organizations. The SBA List will continue to defend its actions, the voters and the right to criticize our elected officials.”
Driehaus lost the election but Judge Timothy Black stated in a decision that the defamation lawsuit could move forward because “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 List’s request for summary judgment on the case was denied.
That is a fact and it is clear on its face.
Now, why was that so hard? Why did it have to get to a judge?