Texas Pro-Lifers Fight Back Against Lawsuit Restricting Their Free Speech

SFLA Staff - 22 Jul 2020

Several lawsuits were filed by pro-lifers in the state of Texas to combat unfair litigation threatening their free speech. Weeks after various parts of the Lone Star State declared themselves Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, multiple abortions groups dropped a suit in retaliation. The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Afiya Center alleged defamation after pro-life pastor Mark Dickson and Right to Life East Texas called them “criminal organizations.” 

The abortion groups also objected to abortion being referred to as “murder.” But now the tables have turned, as the pro-choice organizations have been named as defendants in the countersuit. 

The Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn organization said in a press release: “Each of these defendants [abortion organizations named above] has been stifling pro-life speech by filing defamation lawsuits against individuals who truthfully state that abortion remains a criminal offense under Texas law.”

The Thomas More Society, a non-profit law firm, is representing the pro-lifers in their case. The Chicago-based organization has filed lawsuits in the district courts of Eastland, Franklin, Hockley, Hood, Panola, Rusk, Smith, and Taylor counties. Chief counsel Tom Brejcha, Senior Counsel Martin Whittaker, Special Counsel Erik Kaardal, and Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell of the Thomas More Society are all working to protect the rights of pro-life advocates in Texas. 

Their efforts have been joined by Texas State Senator and Attorney Bryan Hughes from District 1, and Attorney H. Dustin Fillmore III and Charles W. Fillmore of the Fillmore Law Firm. 

“We are merely requesting that the court affirm the truth about Texas law, which is that Texas has never repealed its pre-Roe statutes that outlaw abortion,” Kaardal said. “Therefore, it is both truthful and non-defamatory to describe abortion as a criminal act under Texas law.” 

Continuing, Kaardal stated, “Roe merely limits the ability of Texas officials to enforce the state’s abortion statutes against those who violate them. The 1973 United States Supreme Court decision does not, and cannot, veto or repeal the statutes themselves. Texas’s criminal prohibitions on abortion continue to exist as state law until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.”

“Therefore, it is entirely truthful for individuals to describe abortion as ‘criminal’,” Kaardal affirmed. “Those who do so cannot be subjected to defamation lawsuits for describing abortion providers and abortion-assistance organizations as ‘criminal’ entities.”

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