Texas pro-choice groups erect billboards to counter Waskom’s ‘Sanctuary City’ ordinance

Local News

WASKOM, Texas (KTAL/KKMSS) – Advocates of legal abortion have put up two billboards declaring “Abortion is Freedom” on Interstate-20 near Waskom in response to a recent city ordinance declaring it a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn.”

The Waskom City Council passed the ordinance on June 11, though there are no, nor have there ever been, legal abortion services offered in the city, which has a population of around 2,200 people.

The ordinance was supported by East Texas Right to Life. It’s director, Mark Lee Dickson, spoke in support of the measure, which was approved unanimously by Waskom’s five city council members.

“We got organizations that are based in Austin, Texas putting up signs in Waskom for promoting this idea that abortion is to be glorified,” said Dickson.

Two 501 (c)(3) non-profit pro-choice groups, the Lillith Fund for Reproductive Freedom and the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas did not approve of the ordinance and decided to answer the all-male city council’s vote by partnering to erect the two large billboards.

A few weeks ago, the all white men City Council of the East Texas town called Waskom tried to ban abortion and…

Posted by The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity on Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Communications Officer Cristina Parker with the organization said the group had to let people know that abortions in Texas are still legal. “They named several organizations ours included as criminal organizations in an obvious attempt to silence us and intimidate us.” said Parker.

The Lilith Fund’s Facebook page displays a photo of one of the billboards with a caption stating that abortion is legal in Waskom, in Texas, and all 50 states, and calls the ordinance a “publicity stunt.”

If it was a publicity stunt, it worked. The ordinance was the subject of media coverage throughout the state of Texas, as well as newspapers throughout the country that included the Washington Post, USA Today and Huffington Post, as well as on the NBC, CBS and FOX News networks and websites.

The billboards also drew a response from Right to Life of East Texas on Wednesday afternoon. In a lengthy statement posted on the organization’s Facebook page, Director Mark Lee Dickson questioned the meaning of the phrase “Abortion is Freedom” used on the billboards, doubled down on characterizing the organizations that paid for them as “criminal,” and pointed out that it wasn’t just “old white men” that supported the ordinance designating Waskom a “sanctuary city for the unborn,” but women, too.

“While this may be difficult for some Austin-based organizations to hear, the citizens of Waskom live in a very conservative city in a very conservative county. In the Republican Primary for Harrison County close to 95% of those who voted on Proposition #7 said they were for abortion being banned in the State of Texas. I wonder what NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the Lilith Fund have to say about the women who make up that number? I am curious to see what these groups and the liberal media will say when a city led by a female Mayor becomes the second city in Texas to outlaw abortion and become the next sanctuary city for the unborn. That is happening by the way. Everyone will be hearing about it very soon. ”

Dickson went on to point out how conservative Waskom and Harrison County are and criticized the name of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity.

“It is not every day that an organization can say they teamed up with a group named after a demonic figure of Jewish folklore,” Dickson added, citing Encyclopedia Britannica on the origins of the mythical figure. In modern times, however, Lilith has also become a symbol of freedom for feminist groups.

Dickson closed his statement by asserting that what happened in Waskom was not a publicity stunt, claiming the Lilith Fund was in error when they said, “Abortion is still legal in Waskom, every city in Texas, and in all 50 states.”

“We said what we meant and we meant what we said,” Dickson wrote. “Abortion is illegal in Waskom, Texas. In the coming weeks more cities in Texas will be taking the same steps that the City of Waskom took to outlaw abortion in their cities and become sanctuary cities for the unborn. If NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the Lilith Fund want to spend more money on billboards in those cities we welcome them to do so. After all, the more money they spend on billboards the less money they can spend on funding the murder of innocent unborn children. “


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