Murder charge dismissed against Texas woman in 'voluntary abortion' case

The murder charge against a woman in Texas in connection with a “ voluntary abortion will be removed from office, a Texas prosecutor ann...


The murder charge against a woman in Texas in connection with a “voluntary abortionwill be removed from office, a Texas prosecutor announced Sunday.

Gocha Allen Ramirez, the Starr County District Attorney, said in a statement that after reviewing the case, he will file a motion Monday to dismiss the indictment against the woman, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera.

“I hope that with the dismissal of this case, it is clear that Ms. Herrera did not commit a criminal act under the laws of the State of Texas,” Mr. Ramirez said.

Ms. Herrera was arrested on Friday and held in Starr County, near the Mexican border, according to a local sheriff’s official. Abortion rights organization Frontera Fund said she was released on $500,000 bail on Saturday.

According to the statement from the sheriff’s office, which was reported by The Associated Press on Saturday, Ms Herrera was charged with murder after she “intentionally and knowingly” caused the death of an individual by “voluntary abortion”.

Many details of the indictment remained unclear on Sunday, including whether Ms Herrera was charged with having an abortion or assisting one, or how far along the pregnancy was.

The indictment came months after the Texas legislature passed several restrictions on abortion. But “in reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegations against her,” Mr. Ramirez said.

He also acknowledged that “the events leading up to this indictment took their toll on Ms. Herrera and her family. To ignore this fact would be short-sighted.

Ms. Herrera’s lawyer, Calixtro Villarreal, did not respond to requests for comment.

It was not immediately clear under which law Ms Herrera was charged. An abortion ban that took effect in Texas in September, known as SB 8, prohibits abortions after six weeks but leaves enforcement to civilians, offering them rewards of at least $10,000 for successful prosecution of anyone “aiding or abetting” an abortion.

The Texas Legislature then enacted another law, SB 4, which establishes a criminal violation – a state felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison – for supplying pills of medical abortion after 49 days of pregnancy, or for providers who fail to comply with a series of new regulations and procedures. This law also exempts pregnant women from prosecution.

A section of the Texas criminal code exempts pregnant women from being charged with murder in connection with “the death of an unborn child.” Most states instead target abortion providers when an abortion is deemed illegal.

In most of the country, abortion is prohibited after fetal viability, usually between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. Several states, however, are considering banning abortions at much earlier stages in anticipation that the United States Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before a fetus is viable.

Kate Zernike contributed report. Jack Beg contributed to the research.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Murder charge dismissed against Texas woman in 'voluntary abortion' case
Murder charge dismissed against Texas woman in 'voluntary abortion' case
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