Texas man seeks to “investigate” ex’s out of state abortion

Take a couple of deep breaths and we’ll have a brief discussion of this on the other side.

A Texas man has asked a court for permission to launch an investigation into his ex-partner’s alleged out-of-state abortion, which could lead to one of the first lawsuits against people who help Texans leave the state to obtain the procedure.

Prolific anti-abortion attorney Jonathan Mitchell filed the now-sealed petition in Texas state court last month that would allow him to investigate suspected illegal actions before filing litigation, according to a lawyer representing the people targeted.

The man Mitchell is representing, Collin Davis, threatened his ex-partner with legal action earlier this year upon learning she planned to go to Colorado to obtain an abortion, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the legal action.

Davis has said in legal filings that he plans to pursue wrongful-death claims against “anyone involved in the killing of his unborn child,” the Post reported. Mitchell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Molly Duane, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, said her group is representing the woman, who is remaining anonymous for privacy and safety reasons and who declined an interview, as well as multiple others who are named in the legal action.

Duane declined to say how many or who is named but noted that Mitchell has previously stated publicly his desire to punish out-of-state doctors. Mitchell engineered Texas’ novel citizen-enforced abortion ban known as Senate Bill 8 and regularly represents anti-abortion plaintiffs.

Duane’s group is opposing Mitchell’s attempt to depose her clients. Among other things, Mitchell could ask them about others involved in the abortion, such as abortion funds or groups that might have provided financial support, and receive documentation related to the alleged abortion, the Post reported.


With these legal actions, Mitchell and his anti-abortion allies are seeking to test the reach of Texas restrictions since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

It is not currently a crime to obtain an abortion in a state where it is legal, and Duane said the petition amounts to “fearmongering.”

“It’s not enough for Texas to ban abortion,” she said. “They truly want to trap people in their state, pregnant, and the purpose of this is to frighten people to make them think there might be repercussions for doing things that are perfectly legal. … That is really troubling, but it is emblematic of what abortion extremists really have on the agenda.”

The woman Davis is targeting was “still in the process of recovering from a very unhealthy relationship” with him when he filed the legal action, Duane said, without providing details. Duane said it “speaks for itself” that in both this case and the Silva case, the women are being targeted by ex-partners who describe their former relationships as toxic or even abusive.

The new petition was filed using an unusual civil procedure called Rule 202, which allows lawyers to collect interviews and documents in anticipation of a lawsuit to help them determine their targets and confirm their suspicion that the issue at hand meets legal standards required to file officially.

While other states allow pre-suit discovery, Texas’ rules around when the procedure can be used are the “most expansive,” according to legal scholars.

The story notes that this is the second time professional creep Jonathan Mitchell has tried to use the legal system to get information from a former partner for some loser; see here and here for the first lawsuit, out of Galveston, which may be set for a trial in the fall. As for this action, I mean, what is there to say? This is what these people want. The goal has always been to punish the women who get abortions, and as long as they have the power they will relentlessly push to pass laws that allow them to do exactly that. That’s far from all that they want to do, of course, but it’s a high priority. They’re not shy or subtle about it, though the Republicans they have helped elect do a good job of being coy and evasive when the subject arises. Which is why I continue to be extremely frustrated that Ted Cruz hasn’t felt any pressure about this as yet in the campaign, even as abortion is a huge issue nationally. Everyone in the media who has any reason to be talking to Ted Cruz needs to ask him about this. Reform Austin has more.

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