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Texas Woman Who Was Arrested Over Abortion Has Murder Charges Dropped

Texas Woman Who Was Arrested Over Abortion Has Murder Charges Dropped

The charges were dismissed after it was concluded that Lizelle Herrera could not be prosecuted for the criminal allegation.

A Texan woman who was charged with murder last week in connection with ‘the death of an individual by self-induced abortion’ has had her charges dismissed. 

Lizelle Herrera was arrested on Thursday (April 7) and jailed with a AUD$673,000 (USD$500,000) bond in the Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City.

The sheriff's major, Carlos Delgado, said: “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.”

However, after a review of the case, District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez reached out to the counsel of Ms Herrera to advise them that they would be filing a dismissal of the case, according to The Washington Post.

In a statement, Ramirez said: “In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her.”

Despite the dismissal, the Sheriff's department believed they had followed the rules.

The statement read: “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.”

Texas has one of the strictest abortion legislation in the United States, with the news of the arrest sparking outrage from activists in the state. 

Abortion rights group Frontera Fund had called for Herrera’s release. 

Founder of the organisation, Rockie Gonzales said: “We don’t yet know all the details surrounding this tragic event.

“What we do know is that criminalizing pregnant people’s choices or pregnancy outcomes, which the state of Texas has done, takes away people’s autonomy over their own bodies and leaves them with no safe options when they choose not to become a parent.”

It is unclear whether Herrera was helping someone else have an abortion or whether she was having her own abortion.

However, according to University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck, Texan law would prevent Herrera from a homicide charge if she was aborting her own pregnancy.

He told The Guardian: “[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’.”

District Attorney Ramirez also acknowledged the impact and stress such a charge would take on Herrera.

The statement read: “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.

“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.”

Featured Image Credit: Starr County Dept Of Corrections. PixelPro / Alamy.

Topics: Crime