A Texas man named Marcus Silva has filed a lawsuit in Galveston against three women who helped his ex-wife obtain an abortion. Silva is suing the women for $1 million, arguing that a self-managed abortion is equivalent to murder under Texas law.
The lawsuit accuses the women of helping his ex-wife to conceal their “murderous actions”. This is believed to be the first time a lawsuit has been filed in Texas that is based on allegations of self-managed abortion.
Silva is represented by Jonathan Mitchell, who is a former state solicitor general and has also helped create one of Texas’ abortion bans. Silva is suing for wrongful death and conspiracy. Silva is not pursuing legal action against his ex-wife, with whom he has two children.
The lawsuit cites a text exchange between the women and Silva’s ex-wife about Aid Access – an organization which sends abortion pills through the mail. The women expressed concern about Silva’s response to the abortion and recommended deleting their conversations.
The lawsuit from Silva is in response to the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which allowed state abortion laws to take effect. The lawsuit appears to be an effort to break new ground in Texas.
The lawsuit has sparked outrage from pro-choice advocates, including Wendy Davis, a senior advisor to Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, who called it state-sanctioned harassment. The lawsuit has also caused concern for organizations that distribute or manufacture abortion pills, with Silva’s attorney stating that “anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion”.
The lawsuit from Silva is not the only one currently making headlines. Five women recently sued the state of Texas after they were denied abortions despite the risk to their lives and their unborn children.
Doctors claim they fear repercussions even in the rare circumstances they are legally allowed to terminate pregnancies. Texas, like most states since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allows exceptions when a physician determines there is a risk of substantial harm to the mother or in cases of rape, incest or if the fetus has a fatal diagnosis.
Two of the women impacted by the recent Texas abortion ban plan to tell their stories on the steps of the Texas Capitol in the hope that it will help to strengthen their case.
Some of the women who are bringing the suit are already married with children and chose to terminate their pregnancy due to risks to their lives. Amanda Zurawski was denied medical intervention and became septic twice, which resulted in her being left with one fallopian tube that has permanently closed. Lauren Miller had to travel to Colorado to receive an abortion after one of her unborn children was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.
Miller had to travel out of state to save her own life and the life of the other twin. Pro-choice advocates are outraged by the recent lawsuits, and there is concern that the litigation could set a dangerous precedent for the future of abortion access in Texas.