Initiative seeks extra 'sanctuary cities for the unborn' in Arizona & throughout U.S.

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Mark Lee Dickson leads the cost of the
anti-abortion motion with a objective of banning abortion throughout the nation
– metropolis by metropolis and state by state – till he can create an
abortion-free America. And world.

In his signature getup of a black baseball cap worn backwards, a
blazer, button-down shirt, denims and black low-top Vans, Dickson, 37,
travels the nation to assist cities ban abortion by the
controversial Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative, which he
based in 2019.

The pastor from Longview, Texas, and director of Proper to Lifetime of
East Texas has, by his depend, succeeded in serving to 67 cities and three
counties cross ordinances banning abortion – and he doesn’t have plans to

“I need to see abortion outlawed in New Mexico. I need to see
abortion outlawed in Illinois. I need to see abortion outlawed in
California. I need to see abortion outlawed in New York,” Dickson mentioned
in an interview with News21. “I need to see abortion outlawed on each
tribal territory in the USA of America. I need to see abortion
outlawed in all American territories.”

Dickson believes his work is legitimate, even in states the place abortion
stays accessible, due to the Comstock Act, an 1873 regulation that made
it unlawful to mail “obscene, lewd or lascivious” supplies, together with
these pertaining to abortion or contraception. The regulation was thought-about
dormant through the practically 50 years that Roe v. Wade was in impact, and
the U.S. Division of Justice has since mentioned the Comstock Act doesn’t
allow these kinds of bans.

Dickson sees it otherwise: “These federal statutes trump all state legal guidelines and state constitutions.”

Nearly all of the ordinances, written by Dickson and Texas lawyer
Jonathan Mitchell, don’t particularly ban abortion; as an alternative, they ban
the mailing of abortion-inducing capsules, resembling mifepristone, and
devices utilized in surgical abortion.

Dickson made his first cease in Arizona in early June, exhorting about
40 folks on the Winery Church of Prescott Valley to ban abortion in
this city of some 49,000 residents.

“Figuring out that Prescott Valley may probably be the primary sanctuary
metropolis in Arizona, it makes me really feel actually good,” mentioned Jamie Jefferies,
govt director of Abortion on Trial and a Prescott Valley native.

The primary metropolis to change into a “sanctuary metropolis” was Waskom, Texas,
adopted by 23 extra Texas cities. Dickson ventured outdoors of Texas in
April 2021 to assist Hayes Middle, Nebraska, cross an ordinance.

The ordinances have been closely contested in states resembling New
Mexico, the place the Legislature handed Home Invoice 7 to nullify the
measures. The town of Eunice, New Mexico, which handed an ordinance in
January, has filed a lawsuit towards the governor in an try to
shield the native bans.

“Fortuitously, I don’t assume they’ve a lot of an affect,” Clayburn
Griffin, who lives in Lovington, New Mexico, mentioned of the ordinances. “We
don’t have abortion suppliers within the space anyway, in order that they don’t actually
do something.”

Griffin was vocal towards an ordinance within the metropolis of Hobbs earlier than it
handed in November 2022. He mentioned he doesn’t assume it totally represents
the group, given it was promoted by somebody who isn’t from the world,
not to mention the state.

“I feel it’s actually simply type of his personal self-promotional motives
behind all of this,” Griffin mentioned of Dickson. “He simply needs publicity
for himself, for his trigger, for his group – and the funding that
comes together with that – and he’s utilizing our communities to get that.”

Regardless of such pushback, Dickson mentioned his work will go on. In previous
months, along with Arizona, he’s been to Illinois, Missouri,
Washington, D.C., and different locations, at all times with one objective in thoughts.

“I actually imagine that America is pro-life,” Dickson mentioned. “I imagine in the long run we are going to see an abortion-free America.”

News21 reporters Tori Gantz, Mingson Lau and Jada Respress contributed to this story.