Charges against a Texas woman who was arrested for murder after allegedly terminating her own pregnancy were dropped Sunday by the local district attorney.
Lizelle Herrera, 26, was arrested Thursday after police alleged she violated the state’s new, restrictive abortion law in ‘knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion,’ cops said.
But Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez wrote in a statement Sunday that he was dismissing the charges ‘immediately,’ adding that the incident was ‘not a criminal matter.’
‘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.’
The recently passed Texas Heartbeat Act, under which Herrera was originally arrested and charged, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected – usually around six weeks, well before most women know they are pregnant – with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The law’s unusual enforcement measures were meant to insulate it from legal challenges – anyone can bring forth a case against anyone who aids a woman in getting an abortion, other than the woman herself. Such a plaintiff could be entitled to up to $10,000.
La Frontera Fund, a Texas-based abortion assistance fund, held a protest outside of the Starr County Jail on Saturday morning demanding Herrera’s release.
‘This arrest is inhumane. We are demanding the immediate release of Lizelle Herrera,’ Rockie Gonzalez, founder and board chair of Frontera Fund, told KSTX. ‘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.’
The organization, which acknowledged at the time that details surrounding Herrera’s arrest are still only preliminary, also criticized the recently passed Texas Heartbeat Act.
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