AUSTIN, Texas — Three women in Texas are being sued for wrongful death by a man who claims they helped his now-ex-wife obtain medication for an abortion. It’s another test of state-enforced bans since the U.S. Supreme court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision.
In a lawsuit filed late Thursday in Galveston County, Marcus Silva alleges assisting in a self-administered abortion is tantamount to aiding a murder. Silva is seeking $1 million in damages.
The woman who took the medication in July – weeks after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion that had been in place since 1973 – is not named in the lawsuit. Texas law protects women who get an abortion from being held liable.
Abortion rights groups condemned the lawsuit, calling it an intimidation tactic.
“This is an outrageous attempt to scare people from getting abortion care and intimidate those who support their friends, family, and community in their time of need,” Autumn Katz, a lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Friday in a statement. “The extremists behind this lawsuit are twisting the law and judicial system to threaten and harass people seeking essential care and those who help them.”
Silva is being represented by Jonathan Mitchell – a former Texas solicitor general who helped create one of the state’s abortion bans – attorneys from conservative legal group Thomas More Society and state Rep. Briscoe Cain, a Houston-area Republican.
“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said in a statement from the attorneys.
According to the lawsuit, the manufacturer of the pills will also be named as a defendant once it is identified in the discovery process.
The lawsuit claims it has text messages from among the women discussing how to obtain medication that could induce an abortion and how to aid the woman who was pregnant in planning to take the medication.
Lawsuits challenging abortion restrictions have arisen across the U.S. as clinics have shuttered in Republican-dominated states. Earlier this week in Texas – which has one of the strictest bans in the country, outlawing the procedure in nearly every case with the exception of medical emergencies – five women who said they were denied abortions even when pregnancy endangered their lives sued the state.