Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Woman for Abortion, Pro-Life Laws Focus on Prosecuting Abortionists

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 11, 2022   |   11:59AM   |   Austin, Texas

A Texas district attorney will not pursue charges against a 26-year-old woman who allegedly self-induced an abortion that led to the death of an unborn baby.

Abortion activists quickly pounced on the case, claiming pro-life advocates want to punish women. But the pro-life movement only supports punishing abortionists and the profit-driven abortion industry, and Texas abortion laws specifically exempt the mother from prosecution.

For this reason, Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez said Sunday that he will file a motion Monday to drop the charges against Lizelle Herrera, 26.

“In reviewing applicable Texas law, it is clear that Ms. Herrera cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her,” Ramirez said in a statement.

Reuters reports Herrera was arrested Thursday after a grand jury accused her of “intentionally and knowingly caus[ing] the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”

The case quickly attracted national news attention, and the pro-abortion group La Frontera Fund held a small protest outside the Starr County Sheriff’s Office over the weekend, according to the report.

“She miscarried at a hospital and allegedly confided to hospital staff that she had attempted to induce her own abortion and she was reported to the authorities by hospital administration or staff,” group founder Rickie Gonzalez said.

Ramirez said the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did its duty by investigating the matter, but the law is clear that Herrera should not face prosecution.

“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,” Ramirez said. “To ignore this fact would be shortsighted. The issues surrounding this matter are clearly contentious, however based on Texas law and the facts presented, it is not a criminal matter.”

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Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz agreed, telling the AP that state pro-life laws exempt mothers from punishment.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act and other pro-life policies in the state clearly prohibit criminal charges for pregnant women. Texas Right to Life opposes public prosecutors going outside of the bounds of Texas’ prudent and carefully crafted policies,” Schwartz said.

While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement has historically opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions.

Women were not prosecuted for having abortions prior to Roe v. Wade in 1973, and there are only two known prosecutions of women for abortions (in 1911 and 1922) in the whole of the U.S., according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.

Pro-life advocates believe women are second victims of the abortion industry, often pressured, deceived and lied to by abortionists who make money killing their unborn babies. Pro-lifers also do not want to discourage women from seeking emergency medical treatment at a hospital if they suffer complications from an illegal abortion.