MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The Frontera Fund has been helping women across the Valley find abortion care outside Texas. The organization is speaking out after the arrest of a Starr County woman accused of performing a self-induced abortion.
The Starr County District Attorney has dropped the murder charges against Lizelle Herrera, but advocates say Herrera’s arrest should not have happened in the first place.
“What happened in Starr County was an attempt to control and scare and silence our community in seeking abortion care,” Rockie Gonzalez, Founder of Frontera Fund.
The organization is arguing that state laws targeting abortions such as SB 4 and SB 8 are causing confusion in the local community.
“A lot of people continue to believe that abortion is illegal in Texas when it is not,” said Zaena Zamora, Executive Director of Frontera Fund. “A lot of people believe that abortion is criminalized in Texas and it is not. So there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around the bans that happened.”
Zamora adds the arrest of Herrera is only adding to that confusion. While the Starr County DA claims Herrera did not break any laws, it is still unclear why she was arrested. It is also unknown if Herrera performed the self-induced abortion on herself or for someone else.
But the Frontera fund says they are still providing support to Herrera and her family.
“The bail that was posted for Lizelle Herrera was posted by our partner organization, If When How, through their fund called the legal defense funds,” Gonzalez said. ” We do want people to know about that because that is a resource that exists if that ever happens to someone again which we are aiming for that to not happen. “
Besides Herrera’s case, Frontera Fund has also been seeing an uptick in calls for help.
“While our numbers have pretty much stayed the same and gone up the amount that we are spending per person for travel expenses has gone up exponentially,” Zamora said. ” We are spending on average $1,500 to $2,000 per person who calls our helpline.”
Frontera Fund is considering Herrera’s dropped charges as a win, but it’s also preparing for the next case.
“We will continue the fight,” Gonzalez said. ” We are going to continue on organizing on shooting a statewide strategy to protect all Texans against this kind of atrocity.”
ValleyCentral has also reached out to Starr County District Attorney Gocha Ramirez for more details on the arrest, but his office declined to comment.