“Hate evil and love good; establish justice at the city gate.” These are the biblical words that drive Mark Lee Dickson’s mission. His goal is to establish justice for preborn Americans within cities across the nation – not just in Republican or conservative states, but anywhere people are willing to fight for the protection of our most vulnerable citizens.
Sowing the Seeds of Sanctuary
This mission recently brought him to California. Even as Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing to make California a “sanctuary” for so-called abortion “rights” in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned, Dickson is planting seeds of another kind of sanctuary.
Dickson is the driving force behind the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn movement. “Currently a total of 44 cities throughout the United States have passed ordinances outlawing abortion, and there is a possibility that three more in two different states may be added this week,” Dickson told Live Action News.
After the city of Visalia, California, successfully maneuvered to forestall Planned Parenthood’s plan to open a new abortion facility within their city limits, Dickson hopped on a plane and flew west. While in California, he met with pro-life leaders in Visalia to discuss the possibility of that city becoming the first Sanctuary City for the Unborn in the state of California. He also met with pro-life activists from San Francisco and other areas of the state. His message? “This is not a pipe dream – it can happen in California. All it takes is one city who is willing to go first.”
California has a reputation as a left-leaning stronghold, but the state is far from homogenous. Many portions of the state – particularly its massive agricultural areas – typically vote “red,” and lean conservative on social issues.
“Take, for instance, Shasta County, home to cities like Anderson, Redding, and Shasta Lake,” noted Dickson. “During the 2020 presidential election, 65.4% of Shasta County voters voted for the Republican Party candidate. That is very comparable to the numbers we saw in Lubbock County in Texas.” Lubbock, Texas – population 266,041 – is the largest municipality to pass a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance to date. Dickson believes it is not inconceivable that Redding could be a California analog.
Further complicating the complexion of abortion politics in California is the fact that political party preference is not necessarily an accurate predictor of where individuals stand on this issue. As Dickson points out, Republicans can be pro-abortion, and vice-versa. “We have seen opposition in very red areas of Texas, even in areas where over 93% voted for the Republican party candidate,” he told Live Action News.
Indeed, Gallup reports that 15% of Republicans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance. The opposite can also be true – according to Gallup, 26% of Democrats identify as “pro-life,” and half believe abortion should be illegal in some, if not all, circumstances.
Activism Thrives in the Golden State
All of this adds up to make California a bit of a wild card. As a matter of fact, there is a very vital – and politically diverse – pro-life movement within the state, which has recently been the site of Pink Rose Rescue actions, in which activists enter abortion facilities and offer pink roses and life-affirming resources to the women inside. These actions have been carried out by left-leaning pro-life organizations like Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU).
One of California’s most active pro-life organizations, Pro-Life San Francisco, has also participated in these actions. It is led by Kristin Turner, a young woman who identifies as politically progressive. “The most powerful tool the abortion lobby has against us is indifference,” Turner told Live Action News. “If they convince us there is no hope for California children, they have won. In reality, there is a swelling grassroots effort of pro-life Californians from across the political and ideological spectrums.”
Conscience Must Drive Action Toward Change
It is precisely this kind of diverse grassroots momentum that will be necessary to tip the scales for life in California. The famous anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl once said: “Laws change. Conscience doesn’t.” She also said: “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?” If the people of California want their laws to change, they must be willing to fight for what their consciences tell them is right.
“The cities of California are already being invaded by those who want to make abortion a [local] reality,” Dickson told Live Action News. “They are not going away. Governor Newsom is clear that he wants California to be a sanctuary for abortion access, and the people of California have to make a decision – are we going to let it happen, or are we going to do everything we can to fight against it?”
“All it takes is one city who is willing to go first,” Dickson concluded. “Those who are interested in seeing abortion outlawed in their city are encouraged to sign the online petition on the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn website located here.”
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