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Charges Dropped Against South Texas Woman Arrested For Murder After Having a 'Self-Induced' Abortion

Lizelle Herrera's indictment comes only months after the Texas Legislature passed the controversial 'Texas Heartbeat Act'

On Saturday, a South Texas sheriff’s official said that a 26-year-old woman had been indicted on a murder charge connected with the “death of an individual through a self-induced abortion.”

Lizelle Herrera, 26, was arrested Thursday and jailed on a $500,000 bond in the Starr County jail in Rio Grande City, sheriff’s Major Carlos Delgado said in a statement.

“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,” Delgado said.

On Sunday, Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez shared a statement Sunday that she was dismissing the charges “immediately,” adding that the incident was “not a criminal matter.”

“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,” she said. “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.”

“It is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms. Herrera and her family,” Ramirez wrote. “To ignore this fact would be shortsighted.”

“The issues surrounding this matter are clearly contentious, however based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter,” said Ramirez.

The circumstances of the case remain unclear. The sheriff’s statement did not say whether Herrera was accused of having or aiding the abortion, nor did it state the length of the pregnancy in question. 

According to a statement from the Frontera Fund, an abortion rights organization, Herrera was released on bail Saturday. 

Frontera Fund said on Twitter that she now has legal counsel, and the organization has also created a legal defense and reconciliation fund for her and her family.

On Saturday, Frontera Fund Founder Rockie Gonzalez gave some details surrounding Herrera’s arrest, saying, “What we know is that what is alleged is that she was in the hospital and had a miscarriage and divulged some information to hospital staff, who then reported her to the police. And then she was arrested, and her bail was set at half a million dollars.”

Herrera’s indictment comes only months after the Texas Legislature passed the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” also known as Senate Bill 8 (SB 8). The law bans abortions in the state as early as six weeks or after a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

Under the law, any private citizen can collect $10,000 or more if they bring suit against a provider who performed or helped a woman obtain an abortion that falls outside the new limits. Opponents have referred to this as a bounty for such actions. 

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