FILE PHOTO: The U.S flag and the Texas State flag fly over the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – A Texas man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit accusing three women of helping his ex-wife obtain abortion pills, in one of the first major legal challenges under a state abortion ban since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Plaintiff Marcus Silva filed the lawsuit on Thursday in Galveston County, Texas, alleging that three Texas women are liable for wrongful death because they helped his ex-wife obtain abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy in July 2022. The civil lawsuit is seeking damages of $1 million against each woman.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, eliminating federal abortion rights, Texas has been one of about a dozen states that has enforced a total abortion ban. It is illegal to “aid or abet” abortions in Texas, which the lawsuit claims defendants Jackie Noyola, Amy Carpenter and Aracely Garcia did.
The defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Defendants Noyola, Carpenter, and Garcia all knew that they were aiding or abetting a self-managed abortion, which is a wrongful act and a criminal act of murder under Texas law,” the lawsuit argued.
Brittni Silva, who divorced her husband in February, according to the lawsuit, is not a defendant and is exempt from criminal or civil liability under state law.
Photos of text messages apparently between Brittni Silva, Noyola and Carpenter, attached as exhibitions in the court documents, show the women discussing Silva’s pregnancy and her desire to get abortion pills in Texas.
“If I don’t have to travel that would make things so much easier,” Silva wrote, according to the screenshots.
Noyola and Carpenter offer links to websites where people can order the two-pill regimen, and both offered to let Silva self-manage her abortion at their homes, the text message screenshots show.
The lawsuit alleges that Garcia, the third defendant, facilitated the delivery of the pills to Houston.
Marcus Silva is represented by lawyers Briscoe Cain, who is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, and Jonathan Mitchell, who is credited as an architect of the six-week ban in Texas that took effect in September 2021. That law banned abortion starting at six weeks of pregnancy, and it introduced a novel enforcement mechanism; it invited citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone they believed violated the law by aiding, abetting or providing an abortion to a woman past that point, for damages exceeding $10,000.
A status hearing in the case has been set for June 8.
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