How a Pregnant Texas Woman Caught Her Husband Drugging Her Drinks Trying to Induce an Abortion

Mason Herring, 39, was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation.

<p>Harris County Sheriff

Harris County Sheriff's Office

Mason Herring

A pregnant Texas woman going through a rough patch in her marriage with her husband made the horrifying discovery that he was spiking her drinks in the hopes of inducing an abortion.

Catherine Herring tells PEOPLE that she started to become suspicious of her husband Mason Herring, 39, when she became violently ill after drinking a glass of water he'd given her in March 2022.

“He was like, ‘I noticed during spring break that you don't drink enough water, and I think you should start every day with a big glass. It'll make you feel better,’” Catherine recalls.

Catherine says she was seven weeks pregnant with their third child at the time the poisoning began.

Her husband, an attorney, had asked for a separation a week before she found out she was pregnant. But after that, they resolved to work on their marriage, she says.

“Everything was going along as normal in a married life,” she says. “We'd been on a trip the weekend before. ... But he was open to marriage counseling and was telling me everything was fine. He was like, 'Don't worry, don't be upset. I need to work on myself, and everything will be fine.'”

The couple and their two young children had recently moved into a new home in Houston and were “still decorating the house together and picking out new furniture.”

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Catherine, an artist who makes custom invitation and stationery, says that after the first poisoning on March 17, doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Suspicious, she began collecting the drinks he was preparing for her as evidence, and she set up cameras outside the home.

After seeing him on surveillance footage putting out the trash, she checked the garbage and discovered a package for a drug that induces abortions. Soon after, a private investigator she hired installed cameras in the air conditioning vent in the kitchen.

That same day, she says, “my husband came to my house and made me [a] drink in the kitchen” — and his actions were caught on camera.

The video captured Mason pouring juice into a pink plastic cup, and then pulling a Ziploc bag out of his pocket containing crushed-up pills, which he dumped into the cup, she says.

“The amount that he was using was just shocking,” she says. “You could see it, half an inch to an inch, on each drink.”

After that, Mason “just casually walked [the drink] up and left it on my bedside table," Catherine says.

Catherine was deeply upset by the video.

“There was a lot of emotion,” she says. “To actually see him doing it was shocking.”

“I desperately wanted to be wrong,” she adds.

Mason was initially charged with felony assault to induce abortion but accepted a plea agreement in February to charges of injury to a child and assault of a pregnant person. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.

Catherine and Mason's divorce is now proceeding in court. For Catherine, the sentence of 180 days in jail isn't sufficient.

Their daughter Josephine, she says, was born 10 weeks premature in Aug. 2022 and has spent more than three months in the hospital.

“I just don't think 180 days is justice for attempting to kill your child seven separate times,” she says. “This was intentional, it was knowingly done. This wasn't a crime of passion, or something like that. This was over the course of two months, and seven rounds of attempted murder. If you divide it up, he's serving less than 26 days per attempt to kill my child.”

Mason's attorney could not be reached for comment.

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