Fresh from support this week from a Waskom City Council decision that has made worldwide news, the leader of Right to Life of East Texas said he plans to seek support from other area cities to make abortion illegal within their jurisdictions.
“A number of cities have contacted us,” said Mark Lee Dickson, pastor at Sovereign Love Church in Longview. “They are really excited to see their cities become sanctuary cities for the unborn by both resolution and ordinance.”
The Waskom City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to make abortion illegal in the city and declared itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn” — becoming Texas’ first to do so. Abortion bans are unconstitutional under current law.
Dickson said Right to Life of East Texas plans to approach other area city councils but would not name them “because that is still in discussion.”
Waskom Mayor Jesse Moore said Wednesday the City Council was happy to support Right to Life of East Texas in the council’s historic move by adopting a resolution and ordinance.
Right to Life of East Texas chose Waskom because of concerns that abortion clinics might move to Texas over changing laws in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, Moore said at the meeting. He mentioned Waskom being 18 miles from Louisiana’s closest large city, Shreveport.
Right to Life of East Texas, which opposes all abortion, also is willing to help Waskom with potential legal expenses incurred by the council’s action, Dickson said.
He said an attorney is doing pro bono work for Right to Life of East Texas.
“We will do everything we can to help others accomplish these goals,” Dickson said. “We are going to be raising funds.”
Dickson, pastor at the small Longview church for 10 years, said he is pleased the Waskom council action has garnered national news coverage and has become a “worldwide story.”
He said he has fielded calls from the New York City offices of CNN and Fox News, and also from the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and from The Associated Press in Texas.
“We’ve done interviews across the nation,” Dickson said. “People from Ireland and other countries are writing stories about us.”
Noting that the entertainment industry and other abortion opponents have threatened boycotts of states such as Georgia that have passed anti-abortion laws, Dickson said he is not worried about any backlash.
“Hollywood does not run my life,” he said. “I don’t believe they run the lives of the grassroots, either. Hollywood needs to wake up that we don’t really care what they think.”
He said he has been involved for more than a decade with Right to Life of East Texas, which publishes a newsletter that reaches more than 3,000 people. He said his grandfather, the late Gregg County Republican Chairman Glenn Canfield Jr., got him involved in the Right to Life movement during his youth.