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‘Fox & Friends’ misleads on ongoing lawsuit between anti-abortion-rights group and former Dem congressman

Fox News’ morning show “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday oversimplified and misrepresented an ongoing news story about a former Democratic congressman, an anti-abortion-rights group and the new health-care reform law.

In its “Good News, Bad News” portion of the show, the three “Friends” hosts accused former U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) of being a “sore loser” for suing national anti-abortion-rights group the Susan B. Anthony List.

For a year now, the SBA List has been involved in a legal battle with Driehaus, who lost his seat in Ohio’s 1st District after the SBA List ran a radio-advertising campaign claiming that by voting for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) last year, Driehaus voted for “taxpayer funded” abortion. Driehaus filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission in October 2010 in response to SBA List’s plans to erect a billboard with the message that Driehaus supported taxpayer-funded abortion. Driehaus dropped the charges but then the SBA List sued Driehaus and the state statute he was using against them. Driehaus filed a defamation counterclaim in response.

“Fox & Friends” told the story a little differently.

Steve Doocy: “[Driehaus] did not go back to Ohio gracefully. He has decided to get even, and he is suing the Susan B Anthony List. He says that their public statements … contributed to his defeat. Wah, Wah.”

Gretchen Carlson: “I don’t know, is this a sore loser situation? I guess so.”

Doocy: “The reason he’s suing the Susan B. Anthony List is they’re a pro-life group and he voted for the president’s health-care reform, which did not have any pro-life protections in it.”

Doocy’s statement is at the heart of the legal dispute between the SBA List and Driehaus. Driehaus, who considers himself to be “pro-life,” has maintained that he only agreed to sign the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) after President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions. A federal court this past August ruled in favor of Driehaus, finding the health-care reform law does not provide taxpayer funding for abortion and rejected SBA List’s free-speech defense. Last week the SBA List announced the House’s passage of the “Protect Life Act” would help its case.

The other point the Fox hosts emphasized was that Judge Timothy Black,of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, who is presiding over the case, “used to be the head of Planned Parenthood.” Black was nominated for his position by Obama, and in 2010, anti-abortion-rights groups began reporting that, according to a questionnaire (PDF) submitted to the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee, Black was the director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Cincinnati from 1986 to 1989 and the president from 1988 to 1989. Both positions were unpaid.

Doocy: So conflict of interest? You betcha.

Watch the clip:

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