Driehaus v. Driehaus On Abortion Funding In the Healthcare Bill
By Deal W. Hudson
Congressman Steve Driehaus (D, OH-01) is attempting to send a Catholic pro-life leader to jail for opinions he himself held for months prior to suddenly voting for the same bill he opposed.
The President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, faces possible prison time for asserting on a billboard in Cincinnati that Rep. Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortion when he voted for the health care bill.
If the legal counsel for the SBA List is allowed to cross examine Congressman Driehaus at the upcoming hearing of the Ohio Elections Commission, there are some interesting quotes from the Congressman he should be asked to explain.
The Commission’s hearing could become nothing less than a spectacle of how the Congressman Steve Driehaus who voted for the bill could be the same Congressman Steve Driehaus who made the following statements:
In the Cincinnati Enquirer (3/14/2010), “Biden visiting but Driehaus unswayed,” by Malia Rulon — Driehaus reaffirmed his opposition to the Senate version of the bill:
“While I certainly support this initiative . . . . I will not bend on the principle of federal funding on abortion,” Driehaus said in an interview with The Enquirer. “They are going to have to do it without me and without the other pro-life Democrats.”
From The Cleveland Plain Dealer (3/17/2010), “Rep. Betty Sutton will back health care bill, Rep. Steve Driehaus likely to vote no,” by Sabrina Eaton:
Unless changes are made to the abortion language in the Senate version, Rep. Driehaus will be voting no,” Driehaus aide Tim Mulvey said in an email.
From ABC’s “The Note” (3/19/2010),“Anti-Abortion Rights Democrat Met with Obama, Remains Undecided”:
Driehaus’s office confirmed that he met with the president at the White House Thursday. Combined with Vice President Joe Biden’s fundraising stop for Driehaus Monday in Cincinnati, Ohio, Driehaus has received some of the most visible lobbying from the Obama administration.
But the meeting with the president and the fundraiser by the vice president have not yet yielded a yes vote for the health reform bill.
There has been “No change in his position,” according to Driehaus spokesman Tim Mulvey. “If the House votes on the Senate bill, he won’t support it unless a way can be found to change the abortion language.”
At Cincinnati.com (3/20/2010), “Democrat Steve Driehaus of Cincinnati set to vote no on health care bill,” by Malia Rulon:
“I had a nice chat with the president,” Driehaus said of his visit Thursday afternoon, which took place in the Oval Office of the White House.
“We talked about health care. We talked about basketball. I told him my concerns with regard to the abortion language. He was familiar with the concerns,” he said . . . .
But Congressman Driehaus says the version of the bill awaiting the House vote doesn’t adequately ensure that federal money isn’t used to pay for elective abortions.
“Rarely are issues black and white,” Driehaus said Friday, explaining that while he’s under immense pressure to vote for the bill, it’s also an example of “some of the tough decisions that legislators are faced with.”
Congressman Driehaus remained a “no” vote as of late Friday. And language in the bill was past the point of being changed. However, a last-minute resolution introduced by Driehaus and several other Democrats who oppose abortion rights could change that.
“Health care reform is a process,” he said, “If this bill passes, there will be corrections to it this year. There will be corrections to it next year, and the next, as happens with every major piece of legislation. It’s important for people to understand that the status quo is bankrupting small businesses.”
Then came the sudden about-face announced in The Hill (3/21/2010), “Stupak, Dems reach abortion deal; ‘eight or nine’ will vote yes,” by Jared Allen:
“We’ve changed [our votes],” said Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio).
There were no substantive changes in the bill Congressman Driehaus only days earlier had so vigorously rejected.