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Texas DA Will Drop Murder Charges Against Woman Who Performed a 'Self-Induced' Abortion

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The Texas district attorney who filed murder charges against a woman after she allegedly performed a "self-induced" abortion announced Sunday that the charges will be dropped.


Gocha Allen Ramirez, the district attorney for Starr, Jim Hogg, and Duval counties, initially filed the charges against Lizelle Herrera but has since filed a motion to dismiss them.

"In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her," Ramirez said in a press release. 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. 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 also wrote that the " issues surrounding this matter are contentious" but "based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter."

Herrera, 26, was arrested Thursday by the Starr County Sheriff’s Office and was charged with murder for allegedly terminating her own pregnancy through a "self-induced abortion," according to officials. She is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.


A spokesperson for the sheriff's office told said Herrera was arrested after officials became aware that she "intentionally and knowingly cause[d] the death of an individual by self-induced abortion."

Texas' heartbeat law enacted in September prohibits abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. The law also allows private citizens to sue people believed to be aiding and abetting the procedure, including doctors, people who fund a woman's abortion and anyone who drives a woman to get the procedure. The U.S. Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court have both ruled against efforts to overturn the Texas abortion law.

The law does not allow mothers to be sued for receiving an abortion and does not explicitly define whether there will be consequences for women who carry out self-induced abortions.

Ramirez said in the press release that the charges will be dismissed on Monday.

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