By Paradise Afshar and Keith Allen, CNN
A Texas district attorney confirmed Monday his office filed a motion to dismiss a murder charge against a woman arrested last week in connection with what law enforcement called “the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”
The motion to dismiss was granted, court records show.
After a review of the case, Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez concluded that the woman “cannot and should not be prosecuted for the allegation against her,” the DA said in a statement.
It’s unclear whether the woman, who CNN is not naming, had an abortion herself or had in some way assisted in one.
CNN reached out to Calixtro Villarreal, an attorney for the woman, and was told he would not be commenting on the matter.
The Texas woman was initially indicted on a murder charge after “intentionally and knowingly caus[ing] the death of an individual by self-induced abortion,” according to the statement from Maj. Carlos Delgado of the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, obtained by CNN affiliate KRGV.
Ramirez will file the motion to dismiss the indictment on Monday, his statement said, but stressed that the sheriff’s office acted according to its responsibilities under the law.
“In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff’s Department did their duty in investigating the incident brought to their attention by the reporting hospital. To ignore the incident would have been a dereliction of their duty,” Ramirez’s statement reads.
“Prosecutorial discretion rests with the District Attorney’s office, and in the State of Texas a prosecutor’s oath is to do justice. Following that oath, the only correct outcome to this matter is to immediately dismiss the indictment,” Ramirez adds.
CNN’s calls and emails to Delgado and the sheriff’s office were not returned on Saturday or Sunday.
The woman was arrested Thursday and detained in Starr County on a $500,000 bond, the sheriff’s statement says. She was released on Saturday, according to the Frontera Fund, an abortion advocacy organization in the Rio Grande Valley that has taken a strong interest in her case.
The woman’s lawyer did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Saturday and Sunday. Messages were also left with representatives from the Frontera Fund over the weekend.
News of the arrest provoked outrage from abortion-rights supporters in light of Texas’ strict abortion legislation passed last year. One new law bans abortion providers from carrying out terminations after early cardiac activity is detected in a fetus. A second law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in September prohibits a person “from providing an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman without satisfying the applicable informed consent requirements for abortions.”
Ramirez acknowledged in his statement that “it is clear to me that the events leading up to this indictment have taken a toll” on the woman and her family.
“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,” Ramirez said.
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CNN’s Monique Smith contributed to this report.