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10th Apr 2022

Texas woman charged with murder following ‘self-induced abortion’

Simon Bland


Abortion rights groups have condemned the charges

A woman in Texas has been arrested and charged with murder after police discovered that she reportedly performed a ‘self-induced’ abortion.

First reported by Texas outlet The Monitor News, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera was arrested on April 7 and held at the Starr County Sheriff’s Office after “intentionally and knowingly [causing] the death of an individual by self-induced abortion”.

Herrera remains in custody with a bond set at $500,000.

The arrest comes as the state implemented one of its strictest anti-abortion laws in the country last year. Entitled SB 8, the law calls upon private citizens to sue and take legal action against organisations or individuals who assist in abortions for women who are more than six-weeks pregnant – a time when most don’t even know if they are actually carrying a child.

While the law is currently being fought and contested in US courtrooms, the news of this murder charge marks an extreme step in the other direction. Anti-abortion campaigners have come out in support of Herrera following her arrest, holding a protest on April 9 outside the jail where she is currently being held.

“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,” explained Rockie Gonzalez, chair and founder of the Rio Grande Vally-based abortion care group La Frontera Fund – the same team that organised Herrera’s protest.

“This is a developing story and we don’t yet know all the details surrounding this tragic event, what we do know is that criminalizing pregnant people’s choices or pregnancy outcomes, which the state of Texas has done, takes away people’s autonomy over their own bodies, and leaves them with no safe options when they choose not to become a parent,” she told Texas Public Radio, as per The Independent.

At the time of writing, it is unclear under which statute Herrera has been charged.

Under current Texas law, it is not possible for employees of the state to enforce the controversial SB 8 and pregnant women are unable to be prosecuted. According to the Spanish language outlet Telemundo, the Starr County District Attourney’s office brought Herrera’s case to a grand jury which ultimately decided to indict her.

More information is due to be released on Monday.

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