While pregnant, Catherine's husband served her breakfast in bed. She instantly knew something was wrong.

Content warning: This story includes descriptions of domestic violence that may be distressing to some readers.

Catherine Herring had a gut feeling that her husband was trying to kill her

In March 2022, the Texas woman received breakfast in bed from her husband, Mason Herring. She told a court she wanted to believe it was a well-meaning, romantic gesture. But something deep down told her otherwise.

Leading up to the breakfast in bed, Herring and her husband had been experiencing a rift in their marriage. She had caught him texting a former female colleague of his, and when she confronted him, she said he grew irrate

Around this time, Herring found out she was pregnant with their third child, after 11 years of marriage. Mason was angry about the pregnancy. The pair were attending couples therapy and considering separation. 

Herring said that during a counselling session in March 2022, she told her husband about the pregnancy and he "had a negative reaction and after that evening, he sent her text messages expressing that he was not happy about the pregnancy and did not know what to do".

Herring also told police that her husband said the pregnancy "would ruin his plans and make him look like a jerk".

Watch: Mason Herring sentenced to jail over his actions. Post continues below. 

Video via KENS 5 News.

Soon after the pregnancy announcement, Mason took a keen interest in his estranged wife's hydration. On that fateful occasion in March 2022, Mason gave Herring breakfast in bed and refused to leave the room until she had consumed the whole of cup of water he had given her, she said.

Herring noticed the water looked cloudy, but said her husband claimed their water pipes were simply dirty. 

"He starts urging me, like, 'Chug it, I need to go,' and he kind of had anger in his voice," she told The Daily Beast recently. "All of a sudden I was like, 'Something weird is going on'. And that's when I looked down into the cup and saw that the water wasn't clear.'"

After drinking the beverage with her breakfast, Herring became severely ill and experienced cramping. There was bleeding too, and she took herself to hospital, fearing for not only her own life but her pregnancy. 

After presenting at hospital due to the bleeding, Herring was given a tentative all-clear. Her pregnancy was still viable, and the abortion medicine given to her without her knowledge had been unsuccessful. Damage arose though.

Herring ended up giving birth, and her third child — a daughter — is now aged one. Court records say Herring's daughter has developmental delays and attends therapy eight times a week related to the complications she experienced in the womb. 


After the first attempt, Herring said she hired a private investigator — suspecting her estranged husband was trying to poison her, in an act of domestic violence. Herring set up cameras around her home, and she later told police that on six other occasions Mason allegedly gave her beverages mixed with abortion medication, but she did not drink them.

One of the videos showed Mason mixing a substance into her drink and throwing away trash from his car. Herring says the empty medicine packet she found discarded was a medication that contained misoprostol, which is used to induce abortion.

She then handed over all the evidence she had to authorities.

Catherine Herring reacting to her ex husband's verdict outside of court. Image: KENS 5 News/ABC News. 


Herring told Houston Police that she believed her husband was trying to force an abortion pill on her against her will.

In November 2022, Mason was arrested, and Herring filed for divorce shortly after.

Mason, who was a Houston attorney, was initially charged with felony assault to induce abortion. He accepted a plea agreement in February 2024 on charges of injury to a child and assault of a pregnant person. 

In addition to 180 days in jail, a judge ordered him to 10 years of probation and barred him from having contact with his estranged wife and one-year-old daughter. 

"I do not believe that 180 days is justice for attempting to kill your child seven separate times," Herring said in court when the verdict was delivered.

The case has sparked discussions about the double standards of criminalising abortion in the state of Texas, Herring believing that if a pregnant woman had been found to have taken the abortion pill on her own will, she would have faced greater legal consequences. 

There are many women who have spent years in prison in Texas for attempting their own abortions or for using drugs or alcohol while pregnant.


As one Texas district attorney explained in the same Daily Beast interview with Herring: "The [Texas] legislature is very caught up in telling women what to do with their bodies, and here is a man who's doing the same thing but way worse — and not his own body — and it feels like a slap on the wrist."

Herring says she is now focused on raising her kids and advocating for victims of domestic violence. 

"I just wanted desperately to be wrong. I wanted there to be another explanation, because this is your husband who you love and adore and have children with," she said. 

"But my instinct was, 'Something's wrong, I need to protect myself. And I just need to make sure he doesn't know I'm onto him.' Because I really felt like that was the only way I could collect evidence."

 If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

Mamamia is a charity partner of RizeUp Australia, a Queensland-based organisation that helps women and families move on after the devastation of domestic violence. If you would like to support their mission to deliver life-changing and practical support to these families when they need it most, you can donate here.

Feature Image: KENS 5 News/ABC News.