Texas DA Dismisses Case Against Woman Charged With Murder for ‘Self-Induced Abortion’

A Texas district attorney is dropping murder charges filed against a woman for an alleged “self-induced abortion.”

Lizelle Herrera, 26, was charged on Thursday by the Starr County Sheriff’s Department and released Saturday on a $500,000 bond, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

Law enforcement officials didn’t say what law allowed them to charge Herrera, and legal experts noted that Texas’s restrictive anti-abortion law specifically does not apply to a woman who gets an abortion, whether or not it is “self induced.”

Gocha Allen Ramirez — the district attorney for Texas’s 229th Judicial District, which includes Starr County — said in a Facebook post on Sunday that under Texas law, “it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her.”

Ramirez gave the sheriff’s department a pass on their investigation, however, saying they “did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital” and ignoring it “would have been a dereliction of duty.”

However, he said, prosecution rests with the district attorney’s office, and “the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms Herrera.”

Ramirez acknowledged that the investigation and arrest “have taken a toll on Ms Herrera and her family.”

“Going forward, my office will continue to communicate with counsel for Ms. Herrera in order to bring this matter to a close,” he said. “It is my hope that with the dismissal of this case it is made clear that Ms. Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas.”

Under Texas’s 2021 abortion law, abortions are banned after the so-called “fetal heartbeat” is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. But the law reserves enforcement to private citizens, who can sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion after that time, rather than law enforcement.

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[Featured image: Lizelle Herrera/Starr County Sheriff’s Office]