Bloomberg Law
March 10, 2023, 11:45 PM

Texas Man Sues Women He Says Helped Ex-Wife Get Abortion Pills

Hadriana Lowenkron
Hadriana Lowenkron
Janet Miranda

A Texas man who says his ex-wife used an abortion pill without his knowledge is suing three women who allegedly helped her, invoking the state’s wrongful-death law in what may be the first case of its kind.

Marcus Silva, who is suing the women for millions of dollars, claims they helped with Brittni Silva’s abortion through “illegally obtained pills” and conspired to keep it secret from him. In doing so, they broke a state law holding that “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,” according to his suit.

Read More: Lawsuit Filed Against FDA to Block Access to Abortion Pill

He is represented by Jonathan F. Mitchell, who championed the Texas Heartbeat Act — a separate law that lets private citizens sue those who facilitate abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected — and state Representative Briscoe Cain.

“Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion,” Cain said in a statement. He said he would add the pills’ manufacturers as defendants once they are identified.

‘Infuriating and Alarming’

The suit comes as states across the nation grapple with how to legislate reproductive rights in the wake of June’s Supreme Court Dobbs decision, which overturned half a century of federal abortion rights assured by Roe v. Wade. The fraught question is now being debated and litigated in the run-up to the 2024 election.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund called the lawsuit “infuriating and alarming.”

“This is the world politicians in Texas and across the country have created — one where people can face legal consequences simply for supporting someone’s decisions about their own body,” the group said in a statement.

Read More: CVS, Walgreens Caught in Red-Blue Crossfire on Abortion Pill

Marcus Silva is seeking damages of more than $1 million against each defendant and asking the court to bar the three from distributing abortion pills or helping with “illegal self-managed abortions” in the state. Exceptions to the law don’t shield the defendants from liability because they aren’t doctors or other licensed health care providers, according to the complaint, filed Thursday in state court.

In accordance with Texas law prohibiting the prosecution of the expectant mother, Brittni Silva isn’t named as a defendant.

She and the defendants couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Texts About Pills

Text messages Marcus Silva included in his lawsuit show two of the women texting Brittni Silva information last year from the website of Aid Access, which provides abortion pills through the mail, according to the complaint. The medication was shipped to Houston, and the pregnancy was terminated in July, after the third defendant delivered the pills, he says.

Brittni filed for divorce from Marcus last May, court records show. The divorce was finalized in February, the suit says.

The legal advocacy group If/When/How, which promotes reproductive rights, counted at least 61 cases between 2000 and 2020 in which people were criminally investigated or arrested for allegedly self-managing an abortion or helping someone else manage one. About a quarter of the cases focused on people who helped someone else. Many were in Texas, with the others recorded in 25 states including New York, California and Florida.

The new case is Silva v. Noyola, 23-cv-0375, Galveston County Court for the 56th District.

Read More: Texas Is Sued Over Abortion Ban by Women With Risky Pregnancies

(Adds details, comments and context starting in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story:
Hadriana Lowenkron in New York at;
Janet Miranda in Arlington at;
Ella Ceron in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Anthony Lin at

Peter Jeffrey

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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