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September 17, 2021

7th Circuit Rules in Favor of Texas Pro-Life Activist Sued for Defamation

On Sept. 3, the 7th District Court of Appeals in Texas unanimously ruled to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against pro-life activist Mark Lee Dickson. The lawsuit was filed by the pro-abortion Lilith Fund, a group that helps women pay for abortions.

The lawsuit accused Dickson of defamation and conspiracy. Dickson, who is the Director of Right to Life of East Texas and the founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, criticized a Lillith Fund billboard that read, "Abortion is Freedom." Dickson said that the billboard advocated “for the murder of… innocent lives,” and he pointed out that Texas statutes prior to Roe v. Wade criminalized abortion.

The 7th Circuit ruled that Dickson's criticisms were protected by the constitution, saying that the lower court had "erred" in allowing the case to get as far as it had. The court ruled that the Lilith Fund must pay Dickson's court costs and attorney fees.