Challenge against abortion-funding ads to go forward in Ohio

A federal judge in Ohio on Monday declined to hear a challenge against that state's law against "false statements," setting up a hearing Thursday on an anti-abortion-rights group's ads against incumbent Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio).

Driehaus, who is trailing in the polls, had complained to the Ohio Elections Commission after the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List ordered billboard ads stating that Driehaus "voted for taxpayer-funded abortion." A panel of the commission ruled that there was enough evidence to hold a full hearing, causing the SBA — with support from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — to seek an injunction from federal Judge Timothy Black.

"Nothing in today's ruling changes the fact that Rep. Steve Driehaus voted for a healthcare bill that provides for taxpayer funding of abortion," SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. "We agree with the Ohio ACLU that the Ohio law allowing Driehaus’s case to proceed effectively gives a state agency the ability to police free speech." 

Meanwhile, Democrats for Life of America applauded the decision to deny the injunction. All records, including any coordinated communication with the Republican National Committee, will have to be turned over to Driehaus's lawyers, the group points out. 

"This is an historic first step to stop the mudslinging and lies that have come to dominate American politics," Democrats for Life of America Executive Director Kristen Day said in a statement. "Voters are tired of organizations lying about voting records and positions of candidates. They simply want to know the truth. And the truth is there is no federal funding for abortion in the healthcare bill."