A 26-year-old Texas woman hit with a murder charge last week after what officials called a “self-induced abortion” won’t be facing be prosecution after all.
Lizelle Herrera of Rio Grande City was arrested Thursday, according to Texas Public Radio.
However, the charge will be going away, Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said Sunday.
Breaking: Charges to be dropped against Texas woman, Lizelle Herrera, accused of murder for what Sherrif’s Office described as her “intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion”.
Full statement from DA Gocha Allen Ramirez ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/E0xWhyPZ6g
— Alexander Martin (@AlexMartin) April 10, 2022
While publicly known details remain sketchy, the case appears to have begun with a report from a hospital to the sheriff’s department. According to The Monitor, a newspaper that covers Starr County, the indictment against Herrera refers to Jan. 7 as the date the “self-inflicted abortion” took place.
“In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital. To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty,” Ramirez said in the statement.
“Prosecutorial discretion rests with the District Attorney’s office, and in the State of Texas a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice. Following that oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms. Herrera.”
Ramirez indicated there was more to the case than met the eye, but did not provide details.
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“Although with this dismissal Ms. Herrera will not face prosecution for this incident, it is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms. Herrera and her family. 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,” Ramirez said in the statement.
“Going forward, my office will continue to communicate with counsel for Ms. Herrera in order to bring this matter to a close. It is my hope that with the dismissal of this case, it is made clear that Ms. Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas,” the statement said.
Herrera had initially been held in the Starr County jail but was released after posting bond, according to The Monitor.
According to TPR, a March 30 Starr County grand jury charging Herrera with murder identified the victim as “J.A.H.”
“According to the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, Lizelle Herrera, 26, was arrested & served with an indictment “on the charge of Murder after Herrera did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.” https://t.co/1Q3YduoFgP
— BuckeyeNurse (@Shelley89816603) April 9, 2022
“Herrera was arrested and served with an indictment on the charge of Murder after Herrera did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual by self-induced abortion,” Sheriff’s Office Maj. Carlos Delgado said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said that, in general, women in Texas are not charged with aborting their own children, according to the AP.
Homicide “doesn’t apply to the murder of an unborn child if the conduct charged is ‘conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child,’” Vladeck told the AP.
Although Texas passed a law in 2021 that outlaws abortions at roughly the six-week mark of pregnancy, that law focuses on abortion providers, not the women involved.