Texas woman sues prosecutors who charged her with murder after getting an abortion


MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman who was charged with murder for managing an abortion and spent two nights in jail has sued prosecutors at the U.S.-Mexico border, who dropped the criminal case. Taken forward, it was later removed.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court by Liesel Gonzalez comes a month after the State Bar of Texas fined and disciplined District attorney in rural Starr County on the case in 2022, when Gonzalez was charged with murder in “the death of a person by self-induced abortion.”

Under abortion restrictions in Texas and other states, women who obtain abortions are exempt from criminal charges.

The lawsuit argues that Gonzalez suffered damages from the arrest and subsequent media coverage. She is demanding $1 million in damages.

“The consequences of Defendants’ illegal and unconstitutional actions have forever changed Plaintiffs’ lives,” the lawsuit said.

Starr County District Attorney Gocha Ramirez said Friday that he had not yet been assigned the case and declined to comment. The county’s top elected official, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, also declined to comment.

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According to the lawsuit, Gonzalez was 19 weeks pregnant when she used misoprostol, one of two drugs used In drug abortion. Misoprostol is also used to treat stomach ulcers.

After taking the pills, Gonzalez got a gynecological exam at the hospital emergency room and was discharged due to stomach pain. She returned the next day with bleeding and on examination found no fetal heartbeat. Doctors performed a caesarean operation to deliver the dead child.

The lawsuit argues that the hospital violated the patient’s privacy rights when they reported the abortion to the district attorney’s office, which then conducted its own investigation and filed murder charges against Gonzalez.

Gonzalez’s attorney, Cecilia Garza, said prosecutors pursued the case despite knowing that the woman who performed the abortion was exempt from murder charges by state law.

Ramirez announced that the charges would be dropped just days after the woman’s arrest, but not before she had spent two nights in jail and was identified as a murder suspect.

In February, Ramirez agreed to pay a $1,250 fine and have his license suspended for 12 months in a settlement with the State Bar of Texas. He told The Associated Press at the time that he “made a mistake” and agreed to the sentence because it allows his office to keep running and him to prosecute cases.

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