Lizelle Herrera, 26, was accused of committing “self-induced illegal abortion” and taken into custody on Thursday by the Starr County Sheriff’s Department. On Sunday, charges against the Texas woman were dropped.
Herrera was arrested on a murder count, Sheriff Maj. Carlos Delgado said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. She was jailed until Saturday in Rio Grande City, Texas before being released on a $500,000 bond.
On Sunday, Charges Related to Lizelle Herrera’s ‘Abortion’ Were Dropped, According to a Statement from the District Attorney’s Office.
In a statement released Sunday by District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez, it was announced that the murder charge had been dropped.
“Prosecutorial discretion rests with the District Attorney’s office, and in the State of Texas a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice,” the statement from Ramirez reads. “Following that oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms. Herrera.”
The District Attorney explained that “Ms. Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas” and admitted that “the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms. Herrera and her family.”
The stunning turn of events followed a freshly enacted abortion law passed last year banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. The law rewards private citizens $10,000 for proving that an abortion provider has violated the law.
‘It Appears the Woman May Have Had a Stillbirth.’
Herrera’s arrest and subsequent release stirred controversy, causing reporters like Jessica Yellin to ponder if the incident should be considered “false imprisonment.”
“This is astonishing,” Yellin shared after news broke that the charge against Herrera had been dropped. “It appears the woman may have had a stillbirth. She was reported to law enforcement by the hospital where she sought care.”
“Even if she attempted an abortion under Texas law the pregnant person can’t be criminally charged for an abortion,” Yellin noted. “So this is arguably false imprisonment. Is this an aberration or a sign of things to come?” the reporter asked.
Yellin’s social media post highlights the scary proposition that women in Texas can be charged with murder for having a stillbirth, as that appears to be the case with Herrera who apparently did not “self-induce” an abortion.
The statement from District Attorney Ramirez stands in stark contrast to the one released by Sherrif Delgado immediately following Herrera’s arrest. He explained at the time that she was “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,” the AP reported.
Despite the murder charge being dropped, the AP notes that the case is still under investigation.
As Yellin points out, Herrera’s arrest could potentially foreshadow a grim reality for women in Texas who seek medical care involving a fetus. As was the case with the hospital that reported the 26-year-old, medical professionals could hold the fate of women in their hands, banking on a $10,000 reward for each proven case reported.
Only time will tell if further arrests will be made due to Texas’s new abortion law. It’s a matter that could potentially become complicated for a variety of reasons. As the law reads black and white, it does not leave much room for the complexities that surround pregnancy and related medical care.
Herrera could ultimately sue the state of Texas, the hospital at which she sought care, and others in relation to her arrest.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
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