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A Texas man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against three women who allegedly helped his ex-wife access abortion pills, marking the first legal filing of its kind under the state’s trigger law that makes performing an abortion a felony.
Plaintiff Marcus Silva filed the lawsuit in the Galveston County District Court last week, alleging two of his former wife’s friends — defendants Jackie Noyola and Amy Carpenter — assisted Silva’s former wife, Brittni, “in murdering Ms. Silva’s unborn child with illegally obtained abortion pills,” the lawsuit reads. Noyola and Carpenter allegedly texted Ms. Silva with information about an international group that provides abortion pills through postal services named Aid Access.
The lawsuit further alleges a third woman, Aracely Garcia, transported the drugs to “murder baby Silva” in July 2022, a month after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Marcus Silva recently learned of the defendant’s involvement in the murder of his child, and he brings suit against them for wrongful death and conspiracy.” the lawsuit reads.
Briscoe Cain, an attorney for Mr. Silva and member of the Texas House of Representatives, told Fox 29 that the Texas law authorizes such lawsuits for anyone who distributes or manufactures abortion pills used by Texas residents.
“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said. “That includes CVS and Walgreens if their abortion pills find their way into our state.”
Cain said the legal team for Silva plans to sue the manufacturer of the abortion pill when their identity becomes known.
According to the court filings, under the law of Texas, 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.
Silva did not name his wife in the suit, Axios reported, citing Texas’ laws that exempt the pregnant woman from prosecution.
Court records reported by The Texas Tribune show that Silva’s wife filed for divorce in May 2022, with the finalization happening in February 2023.
Text messages attached to the lawsuit, Silva’s wife worried that her former husband would “use it against me.”
“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.”
A text message from one of Ms. Silva’s friends agreed, saying, “I just worry about your emotional state and he’ll be able to snake his way into your head.”
Silva was also encouraged to delete the text conversations, Axios reported.
Texas passed a trigger law making performing an abortion a crime punishable by up to life in prison, ABC reported. The law, however, did not go into effect until August 2022, which makes the legality of the case controversial.
Joe Pojman with Texas Alliance for Life told Fox 29 that the legal action could set a precedent for future cases.
“I hope the unborn children’s lives are not taken but if they are, this could be a really important example for someone,” Pojman said. “I’m hopeful this could mean justice for the unborn child, I’m hopeful that for father of the child could get some kind of compensation for it such that this would never ever happen again.”
Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, a South Texas College of Law law professor, told ABC he believes the lawsuit could gain traction.
“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 said. “Obviously, the allegations would have to be proven, but there is potentially merit to this suit under Texas’ abortion laws as they exist now.”
Sunsara Taylor with RiseUp4AbortionRights.org told the outlet she believes the action violates women’s fundamental rights and blamed it on “Christian fascist movements.”
“It’s always just been a matter of time,” Taylor said. “Christian fascist movements and I say that deliberately because not all Christians, and it is a fascist movement that has been spearheading the movement over decades to ban abortion, has always been clear that their intention is to take this right away from women in all circumstances.”
“I think that there’s a lot of women who will be targeted,” adding she believes more prosecutions will follow.
Silva is seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.