Woman faces Texas murder charge for self-induced abortion

A 26-year-old woman has been charged with murder in Texas after officials said she caused the “death of a person by self-induced abortion,” in a state with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the US.

It is not clear whether Liselle Herrera has been charged with abortion or whether she helped someone else get an abortion.

Sheriff Major Carlos Delgado said in a statement that Herrera was arrested on Thursday and remained in jail Saturday on a $500,000 bond at the Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City on the US-Mexico border.

“Herrera was arrested and served with an indictment for murder when Herrera intentionally and intentionally caused the death of a person by self-induced abortion,” Delgado said.

Delgado did not say under which law Herrera was charged. He said no further information would be released until at least Monday as the investigation into the matter was on.

University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck told the Associated Press that Texas law exempts her from a criminal homicide charge for aborting 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.

However, some states still have laws that criminalize self-induced abortion “and there have been a handful of prosecutions here and there over the years,” Vladeck said.

Vladeck said, “Taking steps that terminate a fetus is murder in Texas, but when a medical provider does so, he or she cannot be prosecuted” because of a US Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of abortion. , Vladek said.

Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, also noted the exemptions in state law.

“What’s a little mysterious about this case, what crime has this woman been accused of?” Paltrow said. “There is no statute in Texas that, even on its face, authorizes the arrest of a woman for self-managed abortion.”

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.”

On Saturday, abortion rights group Frontera Fund in Rio Grande City called for Herrera’s release.

“We don’t yet know all the details about this tragic event,” said Rocky Gonzales, the organization’s founder and board chairman.

“What we do know is that criminalizing the choices or consequences of pregnancy when pregnant, which the state of Texas has done, takes away people’s autonomy over their bodies, and makes them more vulnerable when they choose not to be a parent. That leaves no safe alternative,” Gonzalez said.

Nancy Cardenas Pea, Texas State Director for Policy and Advocacy for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, said in a statement that abortion should be available to the woman on her own terms where she feels most comfortable.

“Allowing criminal law to be used against people who have terminated their pregnancies serves no reasonable state purpose, but could cause great harm to young people, low-income people and communities of color who encounter or What is most likely to be reported is to law enforcement,” Pena said.

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Miller reported from Oklahoma City and Hollingsworth from Mission, Kansas. Associated Press reporter Juan Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.

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