CITIZENS ACROSS TEXAS FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST PRO-ABORTION GROUPS TO DEFEND THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Earlier today, Texas residents filed a series of lawsuits against pro-abortion organizations that have been attempting to silence pro-life speech. The named defendants in these lawsuits include the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, the Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Afiya Center.
Each of these defendants has been stifling pro-life speech by filing defamation lawsuits against individuals who truthfully state that abortion remains a criminal offense under Texas law. On June 11, 2020, these organizations sued pro-life activist Mark Lee Dickson and Right to Life of East Texas over statements that described abortion as “criminal.” The lawsuits filed today are seeking a declaratory judgment that Texas has never repealed its pre–Roe v. Wade statutes that outlaw abortion, and that it is both truthful and non-defamatory to describe abortion as a “criminal” act under Texas law.
Erick Kaardal, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, explained: “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themselves, and the State’s criminal prohibitions on abortion continue to exist as the law of Texas until they are repealed by the legislature that enacted them.”
“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,” Kaardal 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.”
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.
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