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Texas man files wrongful death lawsuit against ex-wife’s friends who helped her get abortion pill, accuses them of ‘murder’


People gather in front of the J. Marvin Jones Federal Building and Mary Lou Robinson United States Courthouse to protest a lawsuit to ban the abortion drug mifepristone Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in Amarillo, Texas. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

A Texas man is suing three women for $1 million each, alleging a wrongful death conspiracy and accusing them of murder for helping his ex-wife obtain a medication abortion.

Marcus Silva, a resident of Galveston, and his wife divorced in February, according to Texas court records. In July 2022, however, his then-wife apparently discovered that she was pregnant “with a child conceived with Marcus,” according to a civil complaint filed Thursday. The complaint notes that Silva and his ex-wife share two daughters.

Silva’s then-wife apparently turned to two of her friends for help. According to the lawsuit, they helped her procure medication that would induce an abortion. The third defendant is the person who delivered the pill to Silva’s ex, according to the lawsuit.

“Under the law of Texas, a person who assists a pregnant woman in obtaining a self-managed abortion has committed the crime of murder and can be sued for wrongful death,” the lawsuit begins, citing three sections of the Texas Penal Code that address homicide and the criminal code generally, but do not mention abortion.

Although Silva does not identify exactly when his former wife had her self-managed abortion, his allegation that it happened in July of 2022 means it came after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed some degree of abortion access nationwide. Since the Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion in Texas is illegal, according to Planned Parenthood. Moreover, Texas passed SB 8 — the so-called “bounty hunter” law that allows a private cause of action by any Texas resident against any person who “aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion” after fetal cardiac activity is detected—usually about six weeks into pregnancy. Damages for prevailing plaintiffs in those cases are “not less than $10,000” for each abortion “performed or induced,” under the law.

Silva sued under the state’s civil wrongful death and conspiracy statutes, seeking damages of $1 million from each of the three defendants. He also accuses his ex-wife’s friends of violating the Texas Penal Code, specifically the “murder statute.”

Law&Crime has chosen not to include the names of the defendants identified in the lawsuit. Silva’s ex, “as the mother of the murdered unborn child, is exempt from civil and criminal liability and Marcus is not pursuing any claims against her,” the complaint notes.

According to the complaint, which appears to have pictures of text messages attached as exhibits, Silva’s ex-wife texted two of her friends about the availability, timing, and logistics of obtaining and carrying out a medication abortion, which is most effective in pregnancies shorter than eight weeks and does not require a procedure in a doctor’s office.

“You can do it at home,” one of the women offered Silva’s then-wife, according to the exhibit. “We can take the day off and do it at my place if you want.”

“I’m 100% good with that,” Silva’s now-former wife replied. “Just let me know what I need to do and I’ll get on it asap.”

“Thank you so much,” she later added.

“[Y]our help means the world to me,” Silva’s ex later wrote, according to the complaint. “I[‘]m so lucky to have y’all. Really […] I was stupid to be doing it all. I didn’t think this would happen since it hasn’t in 7 f—— years either. But it’s still on me. I know I f—– up. Not letting that s— happen again.”

“Mistakes happen,” her friend replied. ‘You can’t spiral. Hopefully this is the slap in the body that you need to remove yourself from him.”

“Yeah it is for sure,” Silva’s ex replied. “Can’t risk s— like that generally. Especially with him.”

While it’s not clear how Silva acquired these text messages, it is apparent from one exchange between the friends that they were concerned about that very thing happening.

“Delete all conversations from today,” one of his ex-wife’s friends advised. “You don’t want him looking through it,” she added.

Texts from Silva’s ex also indicate that she does not want to share the news of her pregnancy with him.

“I know either way he will use it against me,” she apparently wrote. “If I told him before, which I’m not, he would use it as [sic] try to stay with me. And after the fact, I know he will try to act like he has some right to the decision. At that point at least it won’t matter though.”

In these texts, Silva did not see a group of women supporting their friend during a challenging time. He saw a murder plot.

The defendants, he says in his complaint, “assisted [his ex-wife] in murdering [her] unborn child with illegally obtained abortion pills. [They] also instructed [his ex-wife] to conceal their criminal and murderous actions from plaintiff Marcus A. Silva, the father of the child and the husband of [the ex-wife]. [One friend] arranged for the delivery of the illegal drugs from [a third woman], which were used to murder baby Silva in July of 2022.”

In the complaint, Silva includes what he says is a picture of his wife and her friends from Halloween 2022. They are dressed like characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale” as depicted in the television series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, which envisions a world in which women who can bear children are forcibly impregnated and required to give birth.

“On Halloween of 2022, [two defendants and Silva’s ex-wife] celebrated the murder by dressing up in Handmaid’s Tale costumes for Halloween,” the complaint says, before identifying not only the two defendants but also his ex-wife. Four other women — none of whom are apparently related to the lawsuit — are also in the picture, their faces visible. Silva says that the picture is “displayed” on the Facebook page of his ex-wife’s employer, which he then names. That company, a bookkeeping firm, has set its Facebook page to private.

Silva’s lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell, is known as one of the architects of SB 8. It’s not clear why Silva sued for a wrongful death tort instead of under this law, or whether he expects criminal charges to be filed. Mitchell did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for clarity and to confirm the authenticity of the text messages.

The complaint also indicates that Silva intends to add more defendants to the case.

“The manufacturer of the abortion pills that [his ex-wife] used is jointly and severally liable for the wrongful death of baby Silva, and it will be added as a defendant once identified in discovery,” the complaint says. “The manufacturer of the pills caused the death of baby Silva through a ‘wrongful act’ because it violated” federal obscenity laws that also prohibit the mailing of material or drugs “intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use.”

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