Multiple residents in Texas filed lawsuits against various pro-abortion groups that had previously filed defamation claims against pro-life activists.
Eight different lawsuits were filed against various abortion-supporting groups including the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Afiya Center. The lawsuits can be found on the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn (SCU) organization’s website. The site is dedicated to the East Texas towns that have all but outlawed abortion.
The named organizations are alleged to have stifled pro-life speech with their defamation lawsuits, even though abortion “remains a criminal offense under Texas law,” SCU said in a press release. The abortion groups being sued previously filed lawsuits against pro-life activist Mark Lee Dickson and Right to Life of East Texas after they used the word “criminal” to describe abortions.
Erick Kaardal, one of several attorneys representing the individuals who have filed the lawsuits against the abortion groups, explained in the press release that Roe v. Wade did not wipe out abortion laws, as some assume.
“It is often assumed that the Supreme Court’s judgment in Roe v. Wade somehow cancelled or formally revoked the Texas statutes that outlaw abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. But the federal judiciary has no power to erase a statute that it declares to be unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade merely limits the ability of state officials to enforce the State’s abortion statutes against those who violate them. But Roe v. Wade does not veto or repeal the statutes themselves, and the State’s criminal prohibitions on abortion continue to exist as the law of Texas until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them,” Kaardal said.
“The State’s temporary inability to prosecute or punish those who violate its abortion laws on account of Roe does not change the fact that abortion is still defined as a criminal offense under Texas law,” he continued. “So it is entirely truthful for individuals to describe abortion as ‘criminal,’ and they cannot be subjected to defamation lawsuits for describing abortion providers and abortion-assistance organizations as ‘criminal’ entities.”
More from the press release:
The plaintiffs include citizens of Texas from as far west as Levelland to as far east as Carthage, and the lawsuits were filed in the district courts of Eastland, Franklin, Hockley, Hood, Panola, Rusk, Smith, and Taylor counties.
Each of the plaintiffs is represented by Thomas Brejcha and Martin Whittaker of the Thomas More Society; Erick G. Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A.; Jonathan F. Mitchell (former Solicitor General of the State of Texas); State Senator Bryan Hughes (Texas Senator – SD 1); and H. Dustin Fillmore III and Charles W. Fillmore of The Fillmore Firm in Fort Worth, Texas.
The American Civil Liberties Union previously sued seven towns in Texas that had declared themselves sanctuary cities for the unborn. The cities amended their ordinances to remove the word “criminal” in relation to organizations that help women get abortions, and the ACLU withdrew its lawsuit, The Texan reported.