Texas DA says murder charge in abortion case will be dropped

Apr 10, 2022, 11:39 AM | Updated: Apr 11, 2022, 7:44 pm

A Texas district attorney said Sunday that he will ask a judge to dismiss a murder charge against a woman over a self-induced abortion.

Lizelle Herrera was arrested Thursday in Rio Grande City, a community of about 14,000 people along the Mexico border, after a Starr County grand jury indicted her on March 30 for murder for allegedly causing “the death of an individual … by self-induced abortion.”

District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said Sunday that his office would move to dismiss the charge on Monday.

“In reviewing this case, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her,” Ramirez said in a statement.

Ramirez went on to say, “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.”

Authorities haven’t released details about what Herrera allegedly did, and Ramirez didn’t immediately respond to an email Sunday seeking further information about the case. From his statement Sunday and a previous statement put out by a Starr County Sheriff’s Office official, it wasn’t clear if Herrera was accused of giving herself an abortion or assisting in someone else’s self-induced abortion.

In a tweet Sunday, Planned Parenthood called the decision “Such NEEDED news.”

“While the charges against Lizelle have been dismissed, we know the fight against the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes has only just begun,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO.

A leading Texas anti-abortion group said it understood the decision, saying that state law provides only civil remedies, not criminal ones.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act and other Pro-Life policies in the state clearly prohibit criminal charges for pregnant women. Texas Right to Life opposes public prosecutors going outside of the bounds of Texas’ prudent and carefully crafted policies,” said Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz.

Herrera was released Saturday from the Starr County jail after posting a $500,000 bond.

The indictment alleged that Herrera, on Jan. 7, “did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual … by self-induced abortion.”

In confirming the indictment Saturday, sheriff’s Maj. Carlos Delgado said no further information would be released until Monday because the case was still under investigation.

Texas law would exempt Herrera from a criminal homicide charge for aborting her own pregnancy, University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said.

“(Homicide) doesn’t apply to the murder of an unborn child if the conduct charged is ‘conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child,'” Vladeck said.

A 2021 state law that bans abortions in Texas for women who are as early as six weeks pregnant has sharply curtailed the number of abortions in the state. The law leaves enforcement to private citizens who can sue doctors or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.

The woman receiving the abortion is exempted from the law.

Another Texas law prohibits doctors and clinics from prescribing abortion-inducing medications after the seventh week of pregnancy and prohibits the delivery of the pills by mail.

Medication abortions are not considered self-induced under federal Food and Drug Administration regulations, Vladeck said.

“You can only receive the medication under medical supervision,” according to Vladeck. “I realize this sounds weird because you are taking the pill yourself, but it is under a providers’ at least theoretical care.”

___

Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City and Heather Hollingsworth in Mission, Kansas, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Hundreds of people were slaughtered in a village and its surroundings this month in the latest expl...
Associated Press

‘Total bloodbath’: Witnesses describe Ethiopia ethnic attack

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The heavily armed men appeared around the small farming village in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, frightening residents already on edge after recent clashes between government troops and rebels. “The militants assured us that they will not touch us. They said they are not after us,” resident Nur Hussein Abdi told The Associated […]
1 hour ago
Abortion-rights protesters gather following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, f...
Associated Press

Guns and abortion: Contradictory decisions, or consistent?

They are the most fiercely polarizing issues in American life: abortion and guns. And two momentous decisions by the Supreme Court in two days have done anything but resolve them, firing up debate about whether the court’s conservative justices are being faithful and consistent to history and the Constitution — or citing them to justify […]
1 hour ago
FILE -Health workers led by nurses take part in a demonstration over salaries at Parerenyatwa Hospi...
Associated Press

Inflation sparks global wave of protests for higher pay, aid

Rising food costs. Soaring fuel bills. Wages that are not keeping pace. Inflation is plundering people’s wallets, sparking a wave of protests and workers’ strikes around the world. This week alone saw protests by the political opposition in Pakistan, nurses in Zimbabwe, unionized workers in Belgium, railway workers in Britain, Indigenous people in Ecuador, hundreds […]
1 hour ago
Ten-year-old Greyson Goldstein stands outside Ball Arena before Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cu...
Associated Press

NHL experiencing sustained growth with female, younger fans

One of the biggest stories in the NHL this season has been the increase in viewers in the league’s first year of its television contracts with ESPN and TNT. The league is also seeing unparalleled growth in female and younger fans that should have a big impact for years to come. According to NHL research, […]
1 day ago
FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions during a 2026 soccer World Cup news conference Th...
Associated Press

Group asks for living wages, labor rights for 2026 World Cup

With this year’s World Cup in Qatar clouded by labor and human rights issues, there’s a push for the North American cities awarded games for the 2026 tournament to commit to livable wages, equitable hiring and worker protection. The Dignity 2026 coalition has brought together groups including the AFL-CIO, Human Rights Watch and the Independent […]
1 day ago
FILE - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, center, and his wife Fran, right, talk with specialist Emily Milosevi...
Associated Press

Army Guard troops risk dismissal as vaccine deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country — or about 13% of the force — have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine, and as the deadline for shots looms, at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused and could be forced out of the service. Guard soldiers have […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Texas DA says murder charge in abortion case will be dropped