A Texas man has filed a lawsuit against three women he alleges committed the murder of his unborn child as defined by state law by helping his ex-wife get an abortion. Marcus Silva is suing Jackie Noyola, Amy Carpenter and Aracely Garcia in a Galveston state court after he said they helped his ex-wife, Brittni Silva, obtain abortion pills last year.
Silva said in his lawsuit that he is intentionally excluding his ex-wife from the case and is not pursuing any legal action against her. Silva claims his ex-wife concealed her pregnancy from him and obtained the abortion without his knowledge last July with the help of her friends.
If the women are found liable, it will set a precedent in Texas that state courts will allow claims for significant penalties for distributing abortion pills, which are illegal in Texas.
The three defendants have not been criminally charged, according to local reports. However, under Texas law, providing abortion-inducing medication is a felony, and the lawsuit could be successful under Texas law, whether the state brings criminal charges or not.
The court filing includes screenshots of text exchanges between Brittni Silva and her three friends, which show them discussing having abortion pills shipped to Texas and acknowledging that their actions were legally “murky.” The text messages attached to the filing also show Brittni Silva was concerned Marcus would use her pregnancy in some way to “trap” her in a relationship with him.
The complaint filed with the court also includes a photo of the mother and the three defendants “celebrating the murder” on Halloween 2022 by dressing up as characters from the Handmaid’s Tale book and television series.
Silva alleges the photo celebrating the illegal abortion was posted on the Facebook page of the bookkeeping company where his ex-wife and one of the defendants work. The image has since been removed from that page.
Southern Methodist University law professor Joanna Grossman touted the pro-abortion academic position, claiming the lawsuit to be “absurd and inflammatory.” She expressed concern that the lawsuit could cause such “fear” that it doesn’t matter whether Mitchell is right under the law. “Who is going to want to help a friend find an abortion if there is some chance that their text messages are going to end up in the news?,” she said.
The lawsuit is believed to be the first of its type since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. That ruling returned the authority to regulate or ban abortion procedures to each American state individually.
A previous lawsuit in Texas under the state law that imposes civil liability against anyone who “aids or abets” an unlawful abortion in the state was dismissed because the person who filed the lawsuit was found by the court to have not been directly impacted by the abortion at issue in that case.
Silva’s case seeks more than $1 million in damages from each defendant and an injunction preventing the women from distributing abortion pills in the future.