Woman charged with murder over self-induced abortion now sues Texas prosecutors

A Texas woman is suing after she said she was wrongfully arrested for giving herself an abortion.

On Jan. 7, 2022, the Starr County woman went to a hospital after ingesting Cytotec, also known as misoprostol, to induce an abortion, according to a federal lawsuit.

After medical professionals treated the woman and found a positive fetal heart rate, she was discharged, the lawsuit said. However, about 30 minutes later, she returned to the hospital with abdominal pain and bleeding.

This time, hospital staff found no fetal heart rate and “incomplete spontaneous abortion,” the lawsuit said. A Cesarean section was then done on the woman and she delivered a stillborn baby, according to court documents.

Sometime between Jan. 7 and March 30, 2022, hospital staff reported the self-induced abortion to authorities, the lawsuit said. Then, the Starr County District Attorney’s Office investigated.

District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez and Assistant District Attorney Alexandria Lynn Barrera, who are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, presented the case to a grand jury and the woman was indicted on charges of murder, according to the lawsuit.

McClatchy News reached out to Ramirez and Barrera for comment on April 1 but did not immediately hear back.

The lawsuit says that under Texas law an unborn child is exempt from the statute pertaining to murder “if the conduct charged is: (1) conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child.”

Therefore, the woman was falsely arrested, the lawsuit said.

She spent three days in jail before she was released and charges against her were dismissed, according to the lawsuit.

Beginning March 1, 2023, an investigatory hearing for Ramirez was held by the State Bar of Texas. It found that Ramirez practiced professional misconduct and “knowingly made a false statement of material fact.”

Ramirez was suspended from practicing law for one year beginning April 1, 2024.

The lawsuit is asking for at least $1 million in damages, saying the woman’s life was “forever changed” after being charged and arrested.

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