Man Seeks $1 Million Each From Ex-Wife’s Friends After They Allegedly Helped Her Find Abortion Pills
A Texas man is suing his ex-wife’s friends for $1,000,000 each, accusing the women of conspiracy and wrongful death after they allegedly helped their friend procure pills to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
The lawsuit — the first that is believed to have been filed in Texas since abortion was criminalized in the state this summer — was filed in Galveston County on behalf of a man named Marcus Silva by Texas State Rep. Briscoe Cain and Jonathan Mitchell, the state’s former solicitor general. According to the complaint, Silva and his ex-wife divorced last month; she is accused of terminating her pregnancy in July 2022.
Silva, the lawyers say in the suit, “recently learned of the defendants’ involvement in the murder of his child, and he brings suit against them for wrongful death and conspiracy.”
The lawsuit includes photographs of the text messages from a group chat called “Bebes 💛🥂👯♀️,” that chronicle the women’s efforts to help their friend. Those efforts included searching for an out-of-state clinic that could accommodate her, offering links to the online website AidAccess — which Texas legislators have recently proposed banning – and, finally, connecting her with a third party who offers to provide the pills.
The woman confides to her friends about the toxic relationship she is in, and the panic experienced realizing she is pregnant: “I know either way he will use it against me,” she writes. She expresses gratitude for their support (“I’m so lucky to have y’all. Really.”), and frustration with Texas’ restrictive abortion laws (“Wishing it was available here so I could take a day to get it done”).
In the messages, one of the defendants offers to let the woman recuperate at her home after taking the pills, a gesture Silva’s lawyers declare equivalent with allowing the woman “to use her residence for the murder.” Another message also bears a warning from a member of the chat: “Delete all conversations from today. You don’t want him looking through it,” words the lawyers declare is proof the defendants sought to “destroy evidence of their crimes, in violation of Texas Penal Code § 37.09(d).”
Three months later, the women dressed up for Halloween — as handmaids from the TV show based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel — an act Mitchell and Cain say qualified as “celebration” of the “murder.”
In the lawsuit — a civil lawsuit, no criminal charges have been filed against the women — the lawyers assert that “a person who assists a pregnant woman in obtaining a self-managed abortion has committed the crime of murder and can be sued for wrongful death.” It is an untested legal strategy: Men in Arizona and Alabama have previously tried to sue for wrongful death the doctors who provided abortions for their respective ex’s. (The Arizona case is set to go to trial, but no date has been set; the Alabama lawsuit was dismissed.)
Mitchell has filed dozens of petitions under S.B. 8, the abortion bounty law he helped conceive, seeking information about abortions he suspects Texas residents have obtained. This is the first wrongful death suit he has filed. Cain, a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, was a signatory to the letter threatening the head of the law firm Sidley Austin with criminal charges after it announced a policy that would reimburse its Texas-based employees for abortion-related travel costs. He and Mitchell have teamed up on legal efforts in the past.
Silva is seeking “nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages” against each of the three defendants in the amount of $1,000,000. He’s also seeking an injunction preventing them from “distributing abortion pills or assisting in illegal self-managed abortions in Texas,” as well as, of course, lawyers’ fees.