A Texas Woman Faces A Murder Charge For An Alleged ‘Self-Induced Abortion’
Thanks to the tireless work of local reproductive rights activists, it looks like the charges against Lizelle Herrera will be dropped.
On Thursday, April 7, Starr County Sheriff’s Office arrested 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera for causing “the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”
Texas has the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S., including SB 8, which bans the medical procedure for anyone who is more than six weeks pregnant. The statute turns lay citizens into sleeper agents who can call in and report on anyone they believe is breaking this law. They are also awarded $10,000 for successful lawsuits, so there’s financial incentive to policing strangers’ bodies.
“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,” Major Carlos Delgado, who delivered the statement to Associated Press, said.
Despite being asked by countless outlets, the sheriff’s department has not clarified whether Herrera is being accused of having an abortion or helping someone else have one. Major Delgado said that further information would not be released until Monday, citing the pending investigation.
Herrera was jailed in the Starr County jail in Rio Grande City with a $500,000 bond. Thanks to the work of groups like La Frontera Fund, South Texans 4 RJ, Latina Institute of Texas, and ACLU Texas, along with the donations of countless advocates, she was released from jail on bond on Saturday, April 9.
Rickie Gonzalez, founder of La Frontera Fund, said that Herrera had miscarried at a hospital and “allegedly confided to hospital staff that she had attempted to induce her own abortion and she was reported to the authorities by hospital administration or staff.”
The next day, around 11 a.m. local time, Frontera Fund tweeted that the charges against Herrera are being dismissed.
They also included a letter from District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez, who said his office will “be filing a motion dismissing the indictment against Ms. Herrera Monday, April 11, 2022,” saying that “In my reviewing of Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should. not be prosecuted for the allegation against her.”
The letter also suggests that it was the hospital as an institution alerted authorities about Herrera’s alleged involvement in an abortion.
“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.”
If you or anyone you know needs assistance self-managing a miscarriage or abortion, please call the Miscarriage + Abortion Hotline at (833) 246-2632 for confidential medical support or the Repro Legal Helpline at (844) 868-2812 for confidential legal information and advice.