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3 Texas women are sued for wrongful death after allegedly helping friend obtain abortion medication

 Paper bags containing the medication used for a medical abortion, follow-up instructions and heating pads.
Evelyn Hockstein
/
Reuters
Paper bags containing the medication used for a medical abortion, follow-up instructions and heating pads.

A Texas man whose ex-wife terminated her pregnancy is suing three women who assisted her under the state’s wrongful death statute, the first such case brought since the state’s near-total ban on abortion last summer.

Marcus Silva is represented by Jonathan Mitchell, the former solicitor general of Texas and architect of the state’s prohibition on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, and state Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park. The lawsuit is filed in state court in Galveston County, where Silva lives.

Silva alleges that his now ex-wife learned she was pregnant in July 2022, the month after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and conspired with two friends to illegally obtain abortion-inducing medication and terminate the pregnancy.

The friends texted with the woman, sending her information about Aid Access, an international group that provides abortion-inducing medication through the mail, the lawsuit alleges. Text messages show they instead found a way to acquire the medication in Houston, where the two women lived.

A third woman delivered the medication, the lawsuit alleges, and text messages indicate that the wife self-managed an abortion at home.

The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment. Silva and his wife divorced in February and have two daughters, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit relies heavily on screenshots from a group chat the ex-wife had with two friends seemingly seeking to help her terminate her pregnancy. Her friends expressed concern that Silva, her soon to be ex-husband, would “snake his way into your head.”

“I know either way he will use it against me,” the pregnant woman said, according to text messages attached to the complaint. “If I told him before, which I’m not, he would use it as [a way to] try to stay with me. And after the fact, I know he will try to act like he has some right to the decision.”

“Delete all conversations from today,” one of the women later told her. “You don’t want him looking through it.”

The lawsuit alleges that assisting a self-managed abortion qualifies as murder under state law, which would allow Silva to sue under the wrongful death statute. The women have not been criminally charged. Mitchell and Cain intend to also name the manufacturer of the abortion pill as a defendant, once it is identified.

“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said in a statement.

Texas’ abortion laws specifically exempt the pregnant person from prosecution; the ex-wife is not named as a defendant.

Silva is asking a Galveston judge to award him more than $1 million in damages and an injunction stopping the defendants from distributing abortion pills in Texas.

Jolie McCullough contributed to this report

From The Texas Tribune

Eleanor Klibanoff