Women Being Sued for Helping Man’s Wife Get Abortion Pills File Countersuit

REUTERS/George Frey/Illustration
A bottle and pills of the drug Misoprostol, made by Lupin Pharmaceuticals, sit in a counting tray at a pharmacy.

After a Texas woman got a positive result on the home-pregnancy test she took in July, she texted two friends to discuss her options, according to a new countersuit.

A trigger law banning all abortions would take effect in her state in August, about two months following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Abortions were already illegal in Texas after the six-week mark. Another law had also made prescribing abortion pills online or mailing them to Texans illegal, which the woman and her friends discussed, the complaint states.

The woman had decided to end the pregnancy, according to the countersuit, filed in the District Court of Galveston County on Monday.

“Not questioning if this is what needs to happen,” she allegedly texted her friends. “I know it does.”

She took abortion medication on July 14, the suit states. Months later, in early March, her ex-husband filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against three women – including the two friends he said she had texted over the summer – whom he accused of being involved “in the murder of his child.”

On Monday, the two women filed a countersuit, alleging that their friend’s ex-husband was aware that his then-wife had wanted to terminate her pregnancy after he “illegally accessed” her phone without consent.

“He wasn’t interested in stopping her from terminating a possible pregnancy,” the countersuit claims.

Attorneys for the two women and the ex-husband did not respond to requests for comment. The ex-wife is not a named party in either lawsuit. Under Texas law, a pregnant patient who has an abortion cannot face criminal, civil or administrative liability or penalties.

The husband filed the original wrongful death lawsuit on March 9 in Galveston County, Tex.

In the suit, he alleged that the two friends assisted in “murdering [the] unborn child with illegally obtained abortion pills” that were acquired from a third woman. The complaint claims that the wife hid the pregnancy and had a medication abortion “without [his] knowledge or consent.”

The married couple finalized their divorce in February. The husband’s complaint states that he brought the lawsuit after he had “recently learned of the defendants’ involvement in the murder of his child.” His lawsuit was among the first of its kind since Roe v. Wade was overturned, the Texas Tribune reported.

On July 12, the husband allegedly dug through his wife’s purse without her knowledge, according to the countersuit. He found a Post-it note with the number for an abortion clinic, and he read messages on her phone between her and her two friends about her “possible pregnancy and her desire to terminate it,” according to the document, citing a police report he later filed.

The next day, he looked through his wife’s purse again, the countersuit alleges.

This time, according to the friends’ countersuit, he found a small white pill labeled “MF” and learned it was mifepristone, which can be taken to terminate an early pregnancy. The friends allege that he placed the medication back in her purse and did not say anything to her about it that day.

The wife took the abortion medication the following day, on July 14, the countersuit states. Four days later, he went to the League City Police Department to file a report about his wife’s “intent to terminate the possible pregnancy,” according to a photo of the incident report that was included in the countersuit. The man also told police he had “accessed [his wife’s] phone without her permission,” the countersuit alleges, citing the police report.

The League City Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

After talking with police, the husband began to “threaten and try to control” his then-wife about the medication, according to the countersuit. His wife allegedly texted her friends to say: “So basically because I didn’t tell him in the first place that I was in that position he’s using it against me.”

The countersuit alleges that the husband threatened to have his wife “‘thrown in jail’ if she did not give herself to him ‘mind body and soul.'”

The friends’ lawsuit accuses the husband of violating Texas’s Harmful Access by Computer Act by reading the messages between his ex-wife and the two women, as well as taking screenshots of the correspondence without their permission.

The legislation allows Texans to sue those who have accessed a computer, computer network or computer system that they own without their consent. When the husband allegedly accessed his wife’s phone, he harmed the two friends, the countersuit claims, causing them to “suffer damages and losses.”

The countersuit also argues that the husband violated the friends’ right to privacy when he allegedly read their conversations with his then-wife.