The murder charge against Lizelle Herrera—a 26-year-old woman in south Texas who was arrested and charged on suspicion of murder after allegedly self-managing her own abortion—will be dismissed on Monday, according to her local district attorney. “In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her,” Gocha A. Ramirez, 229th judicial district attorney, said in a release on Sunday.
Ramirez said the Starr County Sheriff’s Department was correct to investigate the incident after the hospital reported it. “To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty. Prosecutorial discretion rests with the District Attorney’s office, and in the State of Texas a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice. Following that oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms. Herrera,” Ramirez said in a statement.
Last week, the Starr County Sheriff’s office told Jezebel that Herrera was alleged to have “intentionally and knowingly cause[d] the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.” A local abortion fund said Herrera had showed up at the hospital having a miscarriage, and after questioning her as to how the miscarriage happened, hospital staff reported her to police. Herrera was released on bail on Saturday evening.
The story quickly spread among Texas media and among reproductive rights organizations across the country. Ramirez acknowledged the impact of the indictment and investigation on Herrera’s life in his statement. “Although with this dismissal Ms. Herrera will not face prosecution for this incident, it is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll on Ms. Herrera and her family. To ignore this fact would be shortsighted,” he wrote. “The issues surrounding this matter are clearly contentious, however based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter.”
The dismissal will be filled on Monday morning.
“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,” Ramirez said.