Texas woman arrested for "self-induced abortion" has charges dropped

Rio Grande City, Texas - The murder charge over a "self-induced abortion" has been dropped against a 26-year-old Texas woman.

The Starr County jail where Lizelle Herrera was held after being arrested for "self-induced abortion."
The Starr County jail where Lizelle Herrera was held after being arrested for "self-induced abortion."  © REUTERS

District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez announced Sunday that she is dropping the charges against Lizelle Herrera, just days after she was arrested in Starr County.

Herrera was arrested Thursday and charged after "intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion," according to local officials.

Few details were ever made public, including whether Herrera got the abortion herself or arranged it for someone else. It’s also unclear how far along the pregnancy was.

"Self-induced abortion" typically refers to anything outside medical care, such as taking pills, supplements, or causing physical trauma.

Herrera was released on $500,000 bond Saturday with money raised by the Frontera Fund, a Rio Grande Valley abortion rights organization that also helped her find legal counsel.

"Policing pregnant people is WRONG regardless of pregnancy outcomes," the group said in a statement.

Herrera’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News Sunday.

Starr County Sheriff defends decision to investigate

Protesters gathered in front of the Starr County jail after the arrest of Herrera.
Protesters gathered in front of the Starr County jail after the arrest of Herrera.  © REUTERS

Texas’ abortion ban currently outlaws procedures after six weeks, but there are no criminal consequences, only civil. Anyone can sue someone who "aids or abets" an abortion. Another law prohibits the supply of medical abortion pills after 49 days of pregnancy, punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison, but again does not punish the pregnant woman.

"It is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms Herrera and her family," Ramirez said in a statement.

"To ignore this fact would be shortsighted. The issues surrounding this matter are clearly contentious, however based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter."

Despite dropping the charges, Ramirez stressed that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department was right to investigate the abortion after being tipped off by a local hospital.

"To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty," she said.

Ramirez will officially file a motion to have the charge dismissed Monday.

Herrera’s arrest comes amid fears and expectations that the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing the federal right to an abortion established in 1973.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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