Trials & Litigation

Wrongful death suit accuses 3 women of helping man's then-wife obtain abortion pills

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A Texas man has filed a wrongful death and conspiracy lawsuit against three women who helped his then-wife obtain abortion pills.

Marcus Silva of Galveston County, Texas, seeks more than $1 million from each of the defendants in the suit filed March 9 in Texas state court in Galveston County, Texas, report Bloomberg Law, the Texas Tribune (via How Appealing) and Reuters.

Courthouse News Service posted the suit.

The suit cites text messages between Silva’s then-wife and two of the women discussing how to get abortion pills. A third defendant delivered the pills, the suit says.

Silva’s wife filed for divorce in May 2022, which is two months before the alleged abortion, according to the Texas Tribune. The divorce became final in February 2023.

According to the Texas Tribune, the legality of abortion in July 2022 “is murky.” The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the abortion-rights opinions Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in June 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Texas had a trigger law banning abortion if Roe was overturned, but it didn’t take effect until August 2022. The state had also banned abortion in a law enacted before Roe was originally decided in 1973, but it is unclear that the law became effective again after Dobbs.

Silva is represented by Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Republican, and Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general. Mitchell championed the controversial Texas law that allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an obtain an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which happensat about six weeks of pregnancy.

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

He plans to add the manufacturers of the pills as defendants in Silva’s suit when it is identified.

Joanna Grossman, a professor at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, told the Texas Tribune that the suit is “absurd and inflammatory.”

But Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, said the suit might see success.

“It’s scary to think that you can be sued for significant damages for helping a friend undertake acts that help her have even a self-medicated abortion,” Rhodes told the Texas Tribune. “Obviously, the allegations would have to be proven, but there is potentially merit to this suit under Texas’ abortion laws as they exist now.”

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