Texas DA says murder charge will be dropped in abortion case

A Texas district attorney said on Sunday that he would ask a judge to dismiss a charge of self-induced abortion against a woman.

Lizelle Herrera was arrested Thursday in Rio Grande City, a community of about 14,000 people along the Mexico border, after a Star County grand jury found her on March 30 for allegedly “deathing a man … self-induced abortion.” by” was abetted to murder. ,

District Attorney Gotcha Alan Ramirez said Sunday that his office would move Monday to dismiss the charge.

“In review of this case, it is clear that Ms Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the charges against her,” Ramirez said in a statement.

Ramirez continued, “It is my hope that the dismissal of this case makes it clear that Ms. Herrera did not commit any criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas.”

Officials have not released details about what Herrera allegedly did, and Ramirez did not immediately respond to an email on Sunday asking for more information about the case. From her statement on Sunday and a previous statement by an official from the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, it was unclear whether Herrera was accused of giving herself an abortion or of aiding in someone else’s self-induced abortion.

In a tweet on Sunday, Planned Parenthood called the decision “such necessary news.”

“While the allegations against Liesel have been dismissed, we know that the fight against criminalizing pregnancy outcomes has just begun,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.

A major Texas anti-abortion group said it understands the decision, adding that the state’s law provides only civil remedies, not criminal ones.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act and other pro-life policies in the state explicitly prohibit criminal charges for pregnant women. Texas Right to Life opposes public prosecutors going beyond the limits of Texas’s prudent and carefully crafted policies. It is,” said Kimberlynn Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life.

Herrera was released from Starr County Jail on Saturday after posting a $500,000 bond.

The indictment alleges that on January 7 Herrera “then and there willfully and willfully caused the death of a person … by self-induced abortion.”

Confirming the indictment on Saturday, Sheriff’s Major Carlos Delgado said no further information would be released until Monday as the case was still under investigation.

University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said Texas law would exempt Herrera from a criminal murder charge for terminating her pregnancy.

“(Murder) does not apply to the murder of an unborn child if the allegation of conduct is ‘conduct by the mother of the unborn child,'” Vladeck said.

A 2021 state law that bans abortions in Texas for women six weeks pregnant has sharply reduced the number of abortions in the state. The law applies to private citizens who can sue doctors or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.

A woman who has an abortion is exempted from the law.

Another Texas law prohibits doctors and clinics from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs after the seventh week of pregnancy and prohibits the delivery of pills by mail.

Vladek said drug abortions are not considered self-induced under federal Food and Drug Administration regulations.

According to Vladeck, “you can only get the drug under medical supervision.” “I realize it sounds weird because you’re taking the pill yourself, but it’s under at least the theoretical care of providers.”

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Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas contributed to this report.

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