A 26-year-old Texas woman has been arrested and told by authorities that she had a “self-induced abortion.”
Lizelle Herrera was arrested on Thursday after authorities said she “deliberately and intentionally caused”[d] According to a spokesman for the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, “one person died of self-induced abortion.”
No details were given about the “miscarriage” or the fetus.
Herrera was also in custody on Friday. His bail was set at $500,000, according to Valley Central, which was the first to report the arrest.
Texas Public Radio reported that the La Frontera Fund, an abortion aid fund based in the Rio Grande Valley, was planning a protest outside the Starr County Jail in Rio Grande City on Saturday morning.
“This arrest is inhuman. We are demanding the immediate release of Lizelle Herrera,” Frontera founder and board chairman Rocky Gonzalez told the news outlet.
Gonzalez said the organization was still seeking more information about the “tragic incident.”
“What we do know is that criminalizing the choices or consequences of pregnancy when pregnant, which the state of Texas has done, takes away people’s autonomy over their bodies, and makes them more vulnerable when they choose not to be a parent. That leaves no safe alternative,” Gonzalez explained.
The arrest represented another chilling crackdown on women in Texas and a disturbing challenge to a man’s own body violence.
It follows last year’s passage of the country’s strictest reproductive rights law, which allows abortions only for a few weeks after pregnancy, before the so-called “heartbeat” of a fetus is detected—in fact A group of cells that emit electrical signals. This is usually before most people even know they are pregnant.
The law, which has inspired several counterfeiting bills in other states, provides no exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest. It allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” a procedure. This includes family or friends of rapists who impregnate a woman against her will.
The law has forced thousands of women to move out of Texas to have abortions – if they can afford to do so.
A study last month at the University of Texas at Austin’s Policy Evaluation Project found that from last September to December, nearly 1,400 Texans were traveling to neighboring states for abortions each month.
Another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by a University of Texas researcher found an increase in the number of Texans requesting abortion pills from overseas nonprofit Aid Access.