Texas woman charged with murder after miscarriage

Politics

The local sheriff’s office said Lizelle Herrera was charged with “deliberately and knowingly causing the death of a person to cause self-induced abortion”.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that a 26-year-old woman in Texas was arrested and charged with murder, which officials claimed was a “self-induced abortion.”

Lizelle Herrera was arrested on Thursday and taken to Star County Jail in the city of Rio Grande, on the Rio Grande River and the country’s southern border with Mexico. In a statement to the AP, the local sheriff’s office said Herrera was charged after “deliberately and willfully causing the death of a person by self-induced abortion,” without specifying what legal statute he violated. did.

He has been released on bond and has retained legal counsel. His lawyer, Calixtro Villarreal, declined to comment.

Herrera’s arrest was first reported by the Monitor, a newspaper based in McAllen, Texas. Few details surrounding the arrest were confirmed by Saturday afternoon. A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas declined to comment until the organization was able to learn more about the case.

It was also unclear whether officials claim Herrera had an abortion that violated the law or helped someone else obtain one. Neither the Starr County Sheriff’s Office nor the District Attorney’s Office responded to requests for comment.

Herrera’s bail was set at $500,000 and was held at the Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City. The Frontera Fund, an activist group working for abortion and operations in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, said in a statement Saturday that Herrera has no legal representation.

Texas enacted a law in September that banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most women knew they were pregnant. To avoid judicial scrutiny, enforcement of the law was left to private citizens rather than state officials. Under the law, called Senate Bill 8, anyone can sue a person who performs an abortion or helps someone perform an abortion after six weeks.

But that law only has civil consequences, not criminal ones. Therefore, it is not clear which law officers were relying on Herrera to charge.

“This arrest is inhumane,” Frontera Fund founder Rocky Gonzalez said in a statement. In an interview, Gonzalez said she expects an “aggressive performance” from abortion rights advocates as Herrera’s case moves forward. “We also hope that they will get their share of support from the anti-abortion right, who are itching to set this precedent.”

The arrests came as Republican-led states across the country raced this summer to pass abortion restrictions ahead of a Supreme Court ruling that Roe v. Wade, the case that has guaranteed abortions nationwide since 1973.

Texas is one of nine states that still has an abortion ban on its books that was passed before Roe. Prosecutors may have made these charges in keeping with that ex-roe ban, said Steve Vladeck, a professor at the Texas School of Law who specializes in federal courts and closely follows the Texas abortion ban. Huh.

The ban, which makes abortion a crime, is unconstitutional under Roe and is not in effect.

Additionally, Vladeck noted, Texas law explicitly exempts a woman from a criminal homicide charge for terminating her pregnancy.

He said that either prosecutors are not aware of the exception, or they have a theory as to why the exception does not apply in this case.

“It’s possible that a prosecutor thought, ‘Here’s a new case that I can bring now because of the pressure created by SB8,'” Vladeck said. “Local prosecutors are not necessarily omniscient.”

At least one Texas lawmaker has recently tried to enforce parts of a pre-row ban. State rape. Brisco Cain, a Republican, in March issued cease-and-desist letters to every Texas group that helps abortions, calling them “criminal organizations.”

If the Supreme Court reverses Roe, Vladeck said, there will likely be more such charges filed nationwide as other states move to enforce their ex-roe ban or criminalize the process by other means. grow.

In the Herrera case, he said, prosecutors and others involved can hope to deter people in Texas from attempting abortions.

He said one of the goals of this arrest could be to “prevent people from having abortions of any kind”.

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