A Texas district attorney said in a statement Sunday that he would file a motion to dismiss the indictment against Lizelle Herrera, the 26-year-old woman who came to national attention after being arrested Thursday and charged of murder after authorities said she “caused the death of an individual by voluntary abortion.
“In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegations against her,” said District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez, who represents Starr Counties, Jim Hogg and Duval.
Ramirez said in the statement that he informed Herrera’s attorney on Saturday of his intention to file the motion to dismiss on Monday.
Herrera’s lawyer, Calixtro Villarreal, declined to comment on the news.
“Prosecuting discretion rests with the district attorney’s office, and in the state of Texas, a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice,” Ramirez added in his statement. “Following this oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms. Herrera.”
It’s unclear if Herrera is accused of having an abortion herself or if she helped someone else get one.
After being arrested on Thursday, Herrera was held on $500,000 bond in Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City until Saturday, when she was released and got a lawyer. Activist groups protested Herrera’s arrest and sought to raise money for his legal fees.
In his statement, Ramirez refrained from blaming Texas police for making the arrest in the first place.
“In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital,” he said. “To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of duty.”
The Herrera case follows a Texas law passed last year that prohibits abortions for people as young as six weeks pregnant and allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps someone obtain an abortion, including doctors, awarding them up to $10,000 for successful trial. Pregnant people themselves are exempt from prosecution under the law.
Another state law also passed last year prohibits doctors and clinics from prescribing abortion drugs after the seventh week of pregnancy and prohibits mail delivery of pills.