A Texas man is suing three friends of his former wife, alleging that they helped her obtain abortion medication in violation of state law after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last year.
Marcus Silva filed a wrongful death and conspiracy lawsuit Thursday in Galveston County against the three women. The lawsuit includes screenshots of text messages filed in the suit to support Silva's claims that the three women arranged to obtain the pills and conceal their actions.
His ex-wife is exempt from liability in the case, as per Texas law, and is not a named as a defendant. NBC News is not naming the three women being sued or Silva's former wife.
Silva and his wife divorced in February but were still married when she conceived in July. It's unclear from Silva's lawsuit why his former wife chose to terminate her pregnancy, but it appears from the text messages that she had already planned to leave him by that point.
"I know either way he will use it against me," she wrote to her friends, according to the text messages included in the complaint. "If I told him before, which I’m not, he would use it as (a way) to try to stay with me."
The text messages are not dated, but some states had passed trigger laws restricting abortion that took effect following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on June 24, which ended the constitutional right to abortion. According to the screenshots in the lawsuit, the three women shared information on abortion resources in Texas despite such laws.
The women also discussed the possibility of traveling out of state for abortion care. At one point Silva's former wife had spoken to someone who could refer her "to places in New Mexico and Colorado."
One woman shared a link and screenshots on information about abortion medication, noting that it could be done safely at home, according to the texts. She shared messages from an unknown person that said the pills were still available in the state but that the legality of ordering them online and then having them shipped were "murky."
Silva's ex-wife tells the group that she would be willing to take the pills, according to the texts. She then told her friends their help "means the world" to her.
"I'm so lucky to have y'all," she wrote. "Really."
The women then tried to estimate how far along she was in her pregnancy, based on the date of her last period and the time of ovulation, and calculated she was only five or six weeks along, according to the texts. Determining she was still well within the window to take the pills safely, the women then picked a day to begin the process, the texts said.
"Delete all conversations from today," one of the friends wrote later.
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Mifepristone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than 20 years ago to terminate a pregnancy up to 10 weeks. Taken with a second medication, misoprostol, the regimen has proved safe and effective.
The law in Texas that bans abortion after six weeks went into effect on Sept. 1, 2022. Requests for abortion pills through resource organizations such as Aid Access skyrocketed afterward, NBC News reported last year.
The FDA said it would continue to permit the delivery of abortion medication through the mail, but the Texas law passed in December forbids medical professionals from prescribing it to patients.
Last month, an anti-abortion group filed a lawsuit in Texas in an attempt to get mifepristone off the table entirely. The group claims the government did not adequately evaluate mifepristone’s safety and shouldn’t have made it accessible through telehealth during the Covid pandemic.
President Joe Biden's administration has fought back, filing a response that said the benefits of mifepristone outweigh any risks. The government has also stated that not only is the drug safe, but that the “public interest would be dramatically harmed” if mifepristone was taken off the market.
Walgreens, a nationwide pharmacy chain, announced earlier this month it would no longer sell abortion medication in 20 states after their attorneys general sent letters threatening legal action. Walgreens said it responded to each attorney general and said it would not sell abortion pills — by mail or in their stores — in those states.
Some of those states, including Texas, have passed restrictions on the medication but others, such as Florida, still allow their legal sale.