Pro-life activists led by anti-choice advocate Mark Lee Dickson began a petition process in Athens, Texas on Sunday to collect signatures for a city ordinance banning abortions.
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The city council is required to consider such an ordinance if 15% of city’s qualified voters sign the petition.
Athens has a history of providing illegal abortions in the years leading up to Roe V. Wade. Thousands of abortions were performed in the city during the 1960s and 70s by physician and former Henderson County health officer Dr. Curtis Boyd.
Dickson and his organization are offering $10,000 for information related to the abortions performed by Dr. Boyd 60 years ago in the county.
— Mark Lee Dickson (@MarkLeeDickson) June 8, 2022
Dickson is leading similar petition efforts across other cities in Texas. The city councils of San Angelo, Abilene, and Plainview have already rejected proposals to ban abortion but have instead granted initiatives on the November ballot for city residents to decide.
The East Texas town of Lindale passed an ordinance banning abortion in March. So far 50 cities in the United States have passed ordinances outlawing abortion, the broad majority of which are in Texas.
Abortion rights groups have been rallying support across the state against these and other anti-abortion measures since the passage of Senate Bill 8 and after a leaked draft of the US Supreme Court opinion last month.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights activists disrupted service at Lakewood Church in Houston on Sunday with a strip down protest. Organizers say more actions must be taken in protest of abortion restrictions.
“These cruel city ordinances point to the vengeful character of the nationwide fascist movement organizing this assault on abortion rights, emboldened by the Supreme Court being on track to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Coco Das, organizer for Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, in a written statement to State of Reform.
“This is a major attack which must be defeated now before it is hammered into law. This must be stopped and it can be stopped. But only if we act together and fast, if we show in our millions that we will bring the gears of society to a grinding halt before we allow the Supreme Court to decimate abortion rights. This isn’t just going back to pre-Roe, it’s far worse — and there is an urgent need for the millions who don’t want this future to be made aware of what’s happening and to be mobilized into a mass, non-violent protest movement. We deserve abortion on demand and without apology.”
Das is urging Texans to join the abortion rights rally set for this Thursday at 6pm at City Hall in Austin.