Texas Wrongful-Death Lawsuit Targets Manufacturer of Abortion Pill

Ed Whelan

March 13, 2023

Last week, Jonathan Mitchell, architect of the Texas Heartbeat Act, filed a civil wrongful-death lawsuit in Texas state court that threatens massive liability for manufacturers of abortion pills.

According to the first sentence of the complaint, “Under the law of Texas, a person who assists a woman in obtaining a self-managed abortion has committed the crime of murder and can be sued for wrongful death.” Mitchell filed the lawsuit on behalf of Marcus A. Silva, the father of an unborn child killed with illegal obtained abortion pills. The complaint charges that the three individuals currently named as defendants—Jackie Noyola, Amy Carpenter, and Aracely Garcia—helped Silva’s wife kill their child.

More importantly, Mitchell promises in the complaint that the manufacturer of the abortion pills that Mrs. Silva used “will be added as a defendant once identified in discovery.” The complaint seeks damages “in an amount over $1,000,000” as well as “an injunction that restrains each of the defendants from distributing abortion pills or assisting in illegal self-managed abortions in Texas.”

Idaho Events

Ed Whelan

about 22 hours ago

I’ll be in the Gem State next week.

I have two events in Boise on Monday. At lunchtime, I’ll be speaking to the Idaho lawyers chapter of the Federalist Society on the topic “The Triumph of the Conservative Legal Movement?” (yes, question mark in title). Later that afternoon, I’ll discuss Justice Scalia’s legacy at an event sponsored by the University of Idaho law school chapter. See links for further information.

I’ve never been to Boise before. By my quick count, Boise will become the 26th state capital I’ve visited.

I will then head to Sun Valley, Idaho, where I will either speak on the topic of “The Fifth Circuit in Conversation with the Supreme Court: Covid, Guns, and Twitter” or go skiing for a few days.

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—March 15

Ed Whelan

about 5 hours ago

1933—Ruth Joan Bader is born in Brooklyn, New York. At her Supreme Court confirmation hearing sixty years later, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, defending the invention of a constitutional right to abortion, decries the fact that her mother did not have the legal right to kill her in utero: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself.” 

2016—No plaintiff? So what? 

Federal district judge Susan Dlott somehow sees fit to order Ohio’s secretary of state to keep polls open an extra hour in four counties. Dlott issues her order in response to phone calls that the clerk’s office received from unidentified individuals concerned that a serious accident on a bridge would prevent stranded motorists from voting. As the local paper notes, her action “came without a written complaint, a court hearing or a formal presentation of evidence that might show federal election laws were about to be violated.”  

On review, a Sixth Circuit will rule that Dlott lacked jurisdiction because no plaintiff had standing. As Judge Jeffrey Sutton succinctly puts it, “There is no plaintiff with standing if there is no plaintiff.” 

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—March 14

Ed Whelan

March 14, 2023

2011—Elevated by President Obama to the Ninth Circuit two months earlier, Mary H. Murguia still has damage to carry out as a federal district judge. In acquitting Elton Simpson of a charge of making a false statement involving international terrorism, Murguia does verbal somersaults to rule that the government did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Simpson’s discussions about traveling to Somalia were sufficiently related to international terrorism: 

It is true that the Defendant had expressed sympathy and admiration for individuals who “fight” non-Muslims as well as his belief in the establishment of Shariah law, all over the world including in Somalia. What precisely was meant by “fighting” whenever he discussed it, however, was not clear. Neither was what the Defendant meant when he stated he wanted to get to the “battlefield” in Somalia. 

Some four years later, in May 2015, Elton Simpson will launch a jihadist attack in Garland, Texas.  

2013—In the face of a federal statute stating that “no court shall have any jurisdiction to review … any judgment regarding the granting of relief under” specified provisions of immigration law, a Ninth Circuit panel holds (in Mamigonian v. Biggs) that the jurisdictional bar applies only to determinations made on discretionary grounds.  

M. Edward Whelan III
Distinguished Senior Fellow and

Antonin Scalia Chair in Constitutional Studies
Ethics and Public Policy Center
1730 M Street N.W., Suite 910
Washington, D.C. 20036

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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