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11th Apr 2022

Murder charges dropped for woman who had “self-induced abortion”

Sarah McKenna Barry

The case has been dropped.

A US district attorney has dropped murder charges against Lizelle Herrera, a 26-year-old woman who was arrested and jailed after allegedly undergoing a “self-induced abortion”.

According to The Guardian, Ms Herrera has been released and is back with her family.

In a statement, District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez confirmed that the case had been dismissed.

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

The DA added: “Ms Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the state of Texas.”

Ms Herrera had been accused of causing the “death of an individual by self-induced abortion”.

The jailing of Ms Herrera had been subject to wide criticism from women’s health groups in the US.

Lynn Paltrow, who is the executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women addressed the case, saying: “There is no law in Texas that authorizes treating people who have miscarriages, stillbirths or abortions as murderers.”

The South Texans for Reproductive Justice labelled the dismissal of the case as a “bittersweet victory”.

They said: “It should not have taken national attention for these charges to be dismissed.

“Lizelle was indicted on January 7. It should not have taken until April 9 for her to be released. Pregnant people deserve a full range of care in all communities.”

Texan law prohibits abortion beyond the six-week pregnancy mark, and in some cases, even earlier.

Last year, the state passed SB 8, legislation which allows private citizens to sue any person who helps a woman get an abortion when she is passed the six week mark in pregnancy. However, this is a civil provision rather than a criminal one and the law explicitly exempts women from being policed if they have a self-managed abortion.