TX Woman Sues After Post-Abortion Murder Charge

Starr County Jail | Image by Michael Gonzalez for The Texas Tribune

A Texas woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the prosecutors who filed murder charges against her after she induced her abortion in 2022.

Lizelle Gonzalez, formerly Lizelle Herrera, is seeking more than $1 million in damages after she was arrested on a murder charge for an alleged “death of an individual through a self-induced abortion” in Starr County in 2022, per Fox 4 KDFW. The local prosecutors put the criminal case in motion despite Texas law exempting mothers of unborn children from criminal charges related to receiving an abortion. Only those who provide abortions in Texas can be held criminally liable.

Gonzalez was jailed for two nights before posting $500,000 bail. The Starr County district attorney, Gocha Allen Ramirez, dropped the charges soon after. However, Gonzalez received considerable media attention, which the lawsuit described as humiliating and having “permanently affected her standing in the community,” per the Texas Tribune.

In the case of Gonzalez, she had been 19 weeks pregnant when she used misoprostol — a medication used to treat stomach ulcers but known to induce abortions. She went to the emergency room twice after taking the pills. The first time, she was discharged after being examined for abdominal pain, and the second time, hospital staff performed a caesarian to deliver her stillborn baby after finding the baby had no heartbeat.

The hospital reported the incident to authorities, which Gonzalez’s lawsuit claims violated her privacy rights, per Fox 4. The lawsuit further notes that Gonzalez suffered harm from being arrested and the media coverage that followed.

As previously covered by The Dallas Express, Ramirez dropped the murder charge against Gonzalez, issuing a statement indicating that while “Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital,” Gonzalez “cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her” since “it is not a criminal matter.”

Ramirez was recently disciplined by the State Bar of Texas over the incident for giving a “false statement” of material fact. He was ordered to pay a fine of $1,250, and his law license was put under probated suspension from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025. Ramirez has not yet addressed Gonzalez’s lawsuit, and no hearing date has been announced.

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