Last week, a group of pro-abortion organizations filed a lawsuit to attempt to strike down Texas’ new heartbeat law, Senate Bill 8, which aims to ban abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected by allowing private citizens to sue abortionists.

But while the lawsuit is largely aimed at public officials acting in their official capacity—including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Texas Medical Board’s executive director, for example—there is one activist listed in the suit: Mark Lee Dickson.

Dickson, the director of Right to Life of East Texas, has been an instrumental player over the past two years for his work in helping make more than 30 cities in Texas “sanctuary cities for the unborn” by banning abortions within city limits. 

According to Texas Right to Life (a pro-life organization unaffiliated with Right to Life of East Texas):

Because of his tireless Pro-Life work and unapologetic stance for Life, Mark Lee Dickson has been singled out as a target by the abortion industry in the lawsuit to cripple SB 8. The lawsuit seeks to prohibit his specific involvement in enforcing the new law in any way. The abortion industry is suing him merely because Dickson has been public about his intent to ensure the abortion industry follows the new law and ordinances – and to assist other Pro-Life citizens in doing so as well. 


There is no sound legal reason for the abortion industry to name Dickson in this lawsuit. They have no standing to sue one individual Pro-Life Texan because the relief they seek will not remedy what they argue is their injury. If Dickson is enjoined from filing any lawsuits under SB 8, another private Texan could still do so, thus there is no legal reason to go after him. The real motivation behind targeting Dickson? Pure bully tactics. The abortion industry wants to make an example of him, to frighten Pro-Life activists lest they become too successful or vocal, and the target of future lawsuits.

The lawsuit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court. 

Meanwhile, the statewide Heartbeat Act is set to take effect on September 1.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens