Three feminist groups are suing a Texas pro-life group and its director for describing pro-abortion groups as “criminal” for aiding women to get abortions while calling abortions “murder.”
On Thursday, the Lilith Fund, The Afiya Center and the Texas Equal Access Fund filed suit against Right to Life East Texas and its director, Mark Lee Dickson, accusing them of defamation, as The Longview News-Journal reports. Lilith Fund executive director Amanda Beatriz Williams stated on Thursday, “Just now, we joined The Afiya Center and (Texas Equal Access) Fund in suing anti-abortion extremist Mark Lee Dickson and Right to Life East Texas for defamation.”
The ACLU of Texas, on behalf of the Texas Equal Access Fund and the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, had sued seven cities in February that said they were sanctuaries for unborn babies but in late May, withdrew the lawsuit after the cities got rid of language describing pro-abortion groups that help women get abortions as “criminal organizations.” The cities’ ordinances barred abortion facilities in city limits.
The ACLU celebrated by tweeting, “Our clients [the Lilith Fund and the TEA Fund], alongside countless other groups, are no longer named ‘criminal organizations’ in these cities. But local community members are the real winners; they won’t have to fear criminal prosecution for advocating for the right to abortion.”
The Lilith Fund echoed, “Y’all remember those towns that tried to ‘band abortion’ and say our work made was ‘criminal organizations?’ Yeah we sued and they backed down real quick. Take note. Abortion funds, providers, and advocates have the constitutional right to perform their work in these communities and everywhere!”as The Texan reported.
Dickson, who had drafted the ordinances, countered that the ACLU’s decision to drop the lawsuit was a “total and complete victory for the cities. We said from the outset that there is no legal basis to challenge these ordinances, and they have been vetted by expert legal counsel. We’re pleased that the ACLU realized this and decided to withdraw its lawsuit.” He added, “This lawsuit was nothing but a publicity stunt to deter other cities from creating sanctuaries for the unborn. But it will end up having the opposite effect. Now even the ACLU acknowledges that there is no basis for challenging these ordinances, and this will embolden other cities and towns to join the sanctuary city for the unborn movement.”
The new lawsuit states, “In Texas, calling a person or business who has committed no crimes ‘criminal’ is per se defamation,” adding that Dickson and Right To Life East Texas ‘have repeatedly stated that Lilith Fund and the other organizations are literal criminals when Defendants know that is not true … Abortion is not a crime in Texas. Abortion is not murder under Texas law. Providing information about abortion is not illegal under Texas law and is, in fact, protected activity and speech … As described in detail below, Defendants’ statements were made before and during efforts to get various city councils to pass an ordinance to enshrine the lies into the municipal books …’”
Dickson fired back, “The comments they asked me to retract were comments which treated abortion as murder and the abortion-aiding organizations as involved in the criminal act of abortion. I have no reason to retract anything that I said. Abortion is the murder of innocent unborn human beings. The Lilith Fund and other abortion-aiding organizations all take part in the murder of innocent unborn human beings. The statements which I have made are rooted not in my own imagination, but in the law written on all of our hearts, in the Constitution of the United States of America, in the Texas Constitution, and in the laws of the great State of Texas.”
Dickson pointed out that Texas still has pre-Roe v. Wade statutes that criminalize abortion which are still existent, noting, “Until these statutes are repealed by the Legislature that enacted them, they are still the law of the State of Texas. When a court declares a statute to be unconstitutional that does not automatically erase that law. All that means is that those particular laws cannot be enforced in such a way that contradicts that court’s interpretation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is not the supreme law of the land. According to the Constitution, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.”
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