Monday, November 22, 2010

ACLU stands up for pro-lifers

Nice to see...

Here's William McGurn in the WSJ...

It's not every day these columns praise the American Civil Liberties Union. Even less often will you find the ACLU standing up for pro-lifers. That, however, is exactly what's happening in Ohio—and it tells us a great deal about threats to conviction and free speech in modern American politics.

The ACLU Ohio's client here is the Susan B. Anthony List, or SBA List, a political action committee whose top goal is to elect pro-life women of either party to Congress....

During the campaign, the SBA List planned to erect billboards saying, "Shame on [Ohio Rep.] Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion." Before that could happen, however, Mr. Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) saying the SBA List wording violated a state campaign law against "false statements."

Enter the ACLU Ohio. Carrie Davis, one of the local ACLU lawyers defending the SBA List, directs me to an amicus curiae brief that minces no words: "The people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, the government should not be the arbiter of true or false speech, and the best answer for bad speech is more speech."...

Whichever side you come down on, surely we can all agree that it is outrageous that an unelected body of political appointees is deciding who's telling the truth in a campaign.

"The mere allegation creates a chilling effect on speech," says Ms. Davis. "The case may go on and on, but the damage is already done."

So hooray today for two women: for Mrs. Dannenfelser and the SBA List for speaking up for life and holding our pols accountable—and for Ms. Davis and the ACLU Ohio for standing up for their right to do so.


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