A Texas man has filed a potentially precedent-setting lawsuit against three women he claims committed “murder” by helping his ex-wife get an abortion.
Marcus Silva sued the trio — Jackie Noyola, Amy Carpenter and Aracely Garcia — for $1 million each in Galveston on Thursday, after he said they helped his ex, Brittni Silva, obtain abortion pills last July.
He explicitly stated in his lawsuit that he is excluding his ex-wife from the filing and is not pursing any legal action against her.
Marcus Silva also said that he would be including the manufacturer of the abortion pill he ex-wife used, once he learns which company it was.
If it goes forward, the lawsuit will be the first of its kind after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade last July which allowed state abortion bans to go into effect.
An earlier attempt to sue under the Texas law that allows civil suits against anyone who “aids or abets” an unlawful abortion in the state was thrown out because the person who filed the suit was not directly impacted by the abortion in question.
“Marcus Silva 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 says.
Silva, who was divorced in February, claims his ex hid her pregnancy from him and secretly aborted the child in July 2022 with the help of her friends.
He included text messages between his ex-wife and her three pals in the court filing that show them discussing the “murky” legality of having abortion pills shipped to Texas.
The screenshots of the text exchanges also show Brittni Silva was concerned Marcus would leverage the pregnancy to trap her in a relationship with him.
“I know either way he will use it against me,” the pregnant woman said, according to the text messages attached to the filing. “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.”
The court filing also includes s a photo of Noyola, Carpenter, and Brittni Silva “celebrating the murder” on Halloween 2022 by dressing up as characters from Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian book and television series set in a near-future totalitarian state where birth control and abortions are illegal.
Silva claims the photo was posted on the Facebook page of the bookkeeping company his ex-wife, Noyola, and Carpenter work at, although the photo is not currently available at the link included in the lawsuit.
Joanna Grossman, a law professor at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, told The Texas Tribune she considered the lawsuit to be “absurd and inflammatory.”
“But this is going to cause such fear and chilling that it doesn’t matter whether Mitchell is right,” Grossman said. “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? And maybe they’re going to get sued, and maybe they’re going to get arrested, and it’s going to get dropped eventually, but in the meantime, they will have been terrified.”
However, others said the lawsuit could be successful under the law in Texas, where providing abortion-inducing medication is a felony.
“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,” said Charles Rhodes, a law professor at South Texas College of Law. “Obviously, the allegations would have to be proven, but there is potentially merit to this suit under Texas’ abortion laws as they exist now.”
Neither Marcus Silva, Brittni Silva, or the three women being sued could be reached for comment.