Protesters gathered near the Texas Capitol following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Credit: Eric Gay/AP/File.

(CNN) --

A Texas woman is suing prosecutors and Starr County for more than $1 million after she was arrested and illegally charged with murder for an abortion she performed in 2022.

Lizelle González was arrested and charged with murder in 2022 in Starr County, Texas, after using abortion drugs to abort her at 19 weeks of pregnancy. The girl, then 26, spent two nights in jail while her name, her mugshot and her private medical information made national news, according to the lawsuit. The charges were dismissed days later.

The arrest occurred months before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and at a time when abortions after six weeks of gestation were illegal in Texas. However, pregnant people cannot be criminally prosecuted for their own abortions under state law, neither now nor at the time of González's arrest in 2022.

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González is now suing prosecutors, arguing in her lawsuit that they intentionally misrepresented the facts and ignored her rights in order to arrest and charge her, irrevocably changing the course of her life.

The complaint was filed last week against Gocha Allen Ramirez, Starr County District Attorney; Alexandria Lynn Barrera, assistant district attorney; and against the county itself. CNN has contacted all of the defendants.


“We have no doubt that the Starr County District Attorney and his office were well aware that Texas law exempts a woman who undergoes an abortion, by any means, from a charge of murder and, without However, he decided to present an unjust and unconstitutional accusation,” González's lawyers, Cecilia Garza and Verónica S. Martínez, told CNN in a statement. "Such a flagrant violation of Ms. González's basic civil rights cannot be considered a mere 'mistake.'"

Ramírez faces professional consequences beyond the lawsuit.

An investigation by the State Bar of Texas concluded in January that Ramírez had engaged in professional misconduct and fined him $1,250, in addition to placing his license under legal suspension for one year, effective Monday.

Prosecutors in Ramirez's office attempted to "bring charges of criminal homicide against an individual for clearly non-criminal acts under the Texas Penal Code" and Ramirez "failed to file a charge that was known not to be supported by a probable cause," indicate the conclusions of the investigative panel of a state bar association that Ramírez signed in recognition.

According to the panel's findings, although Ramirez denied being informed of the facts of the case before his office prosecuted him, investigators determined that a prosecutor in his office consulted with him beforehand and allowed the case to move forward.

Barrera, who had only been admitted to practice law in Texas a little more than five years before the incident, has not faced any public disciplinary action for her role in Herrera's prosecution, state bar records show.

The complaint states that González self-induced an abortion in January 2022 using misoprostol, a pill that can be used alone or with another medication, mifepristone, to complete a medical abortion.

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After Gonzalez was examined at Starr County Memorial Hospital, staff reported the abortion to the County District Attorney's Office, in violation of federal privacy laws, the document states. CNN has reached out to the hospital, which is not named as a defendant in this lawsuit, for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that Ramirez and Barrera “made misrepresentations of the facts and the law before a grand jury, recklessly and callously ignoring plaintiff's rights, allowing a malicious proceeding to be initiated against her.”

Days after González was charged, Ramírez announced that her office would drop the charges, and declared that she had not committed any criminal act.

“In reviewing this case, it is clear that the Starr County Sheriff's Department fulfilled its duty to investigate the incident brought to them by the hospital that reported the case. Ignoring the incident would have been a dereliction of duty,” he wrote in an April 10, 2022 press release.

However, the complaint alleges that “based on information and belief,” neither the Starr County Sheriff's Office nor the City of Rio Grande Police Department conducted an investigation in the case, but rather the district attorney's office “initiated and conducted its own investigation based on reports from hospital staff.”

CNN has reached out to the Starr County Sheriff's Office and the City of Rio Grande Police Department for comment.

After Gonzalez was “unintentionally and prejudicially thrust into public view,” attention only increased with the news that the charges were dropped, the complaint states.

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Advocates for women and their reproductive rights describe the incident as a blatant attempt to restrict women's access to health care.

“In this case, the Starr County District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney had no right to bring a murder charge in what was clearly simply another effort to exert control over a woman's deeply personal decision in matters about family planning and about their own bodily autonomy – and in direct opposition to the vast majority of Americans who support access to the abortion pill,” Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of Women's March and Women's March Network, told CNN in a statement.

Months after González's arrest, Texas implemented a near-total ban on abortion, with few exceptions for medical emergencies. State law protects patients who have abortions from criminal liability, although medical professionals can be prosecuted for performing abortions.

“In a world of extremist abortion laws in red states, what we are seeing in Texas are some of the most indefensible and radical cases of state officials going out of their way to punish and control women who desperately need abortion services.” “Carmona added.

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