A woman in Texas has been charged with murder over what law enforcement described as a “self-induced abortion”.
Lizelle Herrera, 26, was arrested by the sheriff’s office in Starr County near the US-Mexico border in the southern tip of the state, according to Associated Press.
The arrest has been met by several protests as Texas becomes the flashpoint in a new wave of restrictive abortion laws across the United States.
Last year, new rules were introduced meaning women in the state cannot terminate their pregnancy once a foetal heartbeat is detected, which is often as early as six weeks and many times before they even realise they’re pregnant.
The sheriff’s office said Ms Herrera had been arrested over allegedly “intentionally and knowingly caused the death of an individual by self-induced abortion”.
She was released on bail on Saturday, according to the abortion rights organisation Frontera Fund, and has “secured legal counsel”. The sheriff’s office had set her bond at $500,000 bond, Associated Press reported.
The office redirected Sky News to the district attorney for a statement. Gocha Allen Ramirez, the district attorney in Starr County, told Sky News he will be dismissing the charges when the courts open on Monday, stating Ms Herrera “did not commit a criminal act” under Texan law.
Mr Ramirez said that the sheriff’s department “did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital”.
But given that “a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice”, he said, “the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment against Ms Herrera”.
He added: “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.”
Acknowledging that the issues relating to her case “are clearly contentious”, he said that “based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter”.
The new law in Texas has caused widespread outrage and created hundreds of so-called abortion refugees, with many women left with no option but to travel outside the state to terminate a pregnancy.
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