Texas man gets jail time for drugging wife's drinks to induce an abortion

A Texas man who drugged his wife’s drinks in an attempt to induce an abortion was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years on probation.

Mason Herring, a 39-year-old Houston attorney, pleaded guilty Wednesday to injury to a child and assault of a pregnant person. He had initially been charged with felony assault to induce abortion.

Catherine Herring, who has filed for divorce, told the court the jail sentence was not long enough. She said their 1-year-old daughter, their third child, was born about 10 weeks premature, has developmental delays and attends therapy eight times a week.

@KoboldCoterie@pawb.social avatar

I came here to comment that this was the first sane abortion-related ruling to come out of Texas in a long time, but after reading the article…

“I do not believe that 180 days is justice for attempting to kill your child seven separate times,” Catherine Herring said.

Texas law dictates a civil fine of at least $100,000 and a felony with the potential for life in prison for anyone providing or attempting an abortion. Wild that they’re not using that law here. I guess if you’re going to get or perform an abortion in Texas, you should get someone to use this method rather than a medically accepted one, because the penalty seems to be far less severe.

@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

A white lawyer commits a felony 7 times and gets off with 6 months in jail and a fine.

Texas just being Texas I guess.

Tremble, (edited )

To be fair, this is not “injury to a child.” Injury to the mother without a doubt, but a fetus is not a child.

I can see how it would be justified to increase penalties for assault / etc. against pregnant people, but a fetus is not a child.

Edit: I don’t care about the downvotes. This is an awful situation and the penalty he received seems way too low but consistency is important. A fetus is not a child. If you disagree, you don’t get to participate in the conversation.


The child was born premature and with developmental delays. Feels like harm. Kinda the same way if you shoot someone and they die 9 months later due to complications, that’s still murder.

But I’d defer to a medical expert of course. Maybe they are unrelated.


I hear you. But the assault was on the mother.

A fetus is not a human.

That’s why I mentioned increased penalties for assaults against pregnant people


I also am skeptical about assigning any personhood to a fetus, but in this particular case the child was born, is an actual person, and (perhaps) suffered real harm as a result. That’s an important distinction that I think doesn’t threaten to blur the lines between a fetus and a person.


We can be consistent without saying that fetus’ are humans. Yes, it affected the baby that was born, which is why punishment should be more severe for assaulting pregnant women.

But a fetus is not a human.

Full stop.

There is no line that can be blurred because a fetus is not a human.

If someone kicks a man in the balls and it deforms his sperm production and his future baby is impacted the perpetrator is not guilty of hurting the baby


A fetus is not a human.

We’re talking about a bastion of christofascism. If they were consistent, they would punish him the same they would punish a woman seeking an abortion. That is, severely.


If the fetus was never born, this argument might have merit, but it became a person and there were health consequences.


It was a fetus when the crime happened. If I kick someone in the balls and it causes their sperm to be deformed and hurts a baby ten years later I am not guilty of hurting babies born later.


If you shoot someone while robbing them and they live, that’s aggravated robbery in Texas.

If they die as a result of those injuries 10 years later, the crime is then upgraded to murder (possibly even capital murder) in Texas.


That’s very interesting and since posting this I’ve been thinking about it, you could probably sue someone in civil court for this kind of thing.

But a fetus is not a human.

I’m not a lawyer or a judge, but a fetus is not a human.


Ok, I won’t disagree on your definitions. But the charge of “Injury to a Child” is still appropriate here. A child was eventually injured as a result of an assault.

Tremble, (edited )

Now that would be a matter of the law. I don’t know if you can be accused of assaulting someone before they were a human. At the time of the crime, no child was injured.

I think the pregnant person was assaulted and the penalty was possibly way to low, but saying that a child was injured is incorrect. I don’t have the answer, but it seems like the mother should be compensated somehow for her assault, enough even to possibly help with the eventual child that was born. But a fetus is not a human is my main point.

I’m sure there is a moral solution to this, but claiming that fetus’ are humans is not that solution.

Edit: I would even argue we could penalize people for assaulting a fetus if that that is what we wanted to do. But calling a fetus a child is just plain incorrect.

Edit: I take that back. Assaulting a fetus is not a thing. Full stop. Assaulting a pregnant person is.


I do have the answer. In Texas, injuring a pregnant woman that results in injury to the child that is eventually born is called “Injury to a Child”.


It’s not a child.

(I edited my comment above to answer this)


A child was born. That child is injured.


I don’t think we are in disagreement that there should be some form of compensation for the mother to help with the care of her child. What I am arguing is that a fetus is not a human.


I am not disagreeing with you on the definition of the word “fetus”. A fetus is not a child. We agree. Good. Next topic: appropriate charges in the case being discussed…

I am letting you know what Texas Penal Code and case law in Texas indicate are appropriate charges when a pregnant woman is assaulted and then gives birth to a child who has an injury that resulted from the assault. The child is a complainant in a charge called “Injury to a Child”.


Texas is wrong in a lot of ways. This seems like a way for them to codify fetus’ into law as being humans, which is not correct. I’m saying no child was injured and the law doesn’t make any sense.

Edit: and if this is an example of injury to a child how did this guy get off on that charge?


So the child who clearly has an injury right now is not a child? Or are they not currently injured?


Anyway I hope you’re doing well today.


I am well. Thank you. The sentiment is reciprocated.


If you want to go that route, then show me a mom that chain smoked through pregnancy getting in criminal legal trouble.

@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

Texas law being what it is now, they consider a zygote a child.


Man can you rule on some other discussions for me?

I didn’t know we could just tell people that they don’t get to talk because you disagree with them

Tremble, (edited )

Well, it’s just a fact, a fetus is not a human. I would say I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but I’m not.

It’s just a fact.

I’m not willing to dispute facts.


If the perp had harmed the post-zygote organism:

  1. One hour before delivery
  2. During delivery
  3. Just prior to umbilical cord being cut

Would any of those qualify?


Qualify for what? Hurting a human?

Could the mother have claimed tax benefits for the fetus at the time of the injuries? Could she have had the state recognize her fetus as a human in any other way besides being penalized had she decided to abort?

If the fetus can not live on it’s own outside of the womb, that’s an interesting question.

But a fetus is not a human. I’m pretty sure at the three points you mentioned it’s technically not a fetus anymore according to medical science.

Edit: this incident pulls at our heart strings. I get that. He should be required to compensate and help with the care and medical assistance for the now human child. But no child was injured at the time of the multiple assaults on the mother. We need to be consistent and rational while also having empathy. Calling fetus’ humans does not accomplish this.


As long as she was born, that’s as far as Ken Paxton gives a shit.


This was the Husband, he knows what is best for the sandwich maker. Texas agrees that men know best, unless they are doctors or use science in any way.


Because this occurred before that law was passed. You can’t prosecute someone for something that wasn’t illegal at the time they did it. They did prosecute him for actions that were illegal at the time. Whether the jail time was sufficient is a different argument, but the law dictating $100,000 and life in prison is a new law.

@KoboldCoterie@pawb.social avatar

Oh, wow, good call - it was a couple months before. I completely glazed over that.

@Sterile_Technique@lemmy.world avatar

A man drugging his wife with a poisoned drink to induce an abortion is…


…one of the most Christian things I’ve ever heard!

www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers 5%3A…

The one and only time abortion is mentioned in the Bible is a fucking how-to guide, lol.

xhieron, (edited )
@xhieron@lemmy.world avatar

This is actually a really fascinating text, historically and theologically. Whether you’re religious or not, the society that produced this text–like our society–had an interest in preserving families. It did not want bastards who would be dependent on community resources. So it enlisted the priests to superstition away jealous husbands. Are you just so sure she’s a cheating whore? Well have her drink this magic poison, and if she is she’ll never have kids! Spooky. If she’s not, then nothing happens. And if she’s pregnant, you’re now game theorying with your worldview: are you about to risk killing your own baby in an effort to kill a bastard? Better tread lightly, sirs!

I suspect (admittedly with no evidence) that this resulted in the intentionally high burden of proof for adultery being honored more consistently, and on a large scale, it probably meant more insecure husbands reared families, more women were not subject to the draconian penalties arising out of their pseudo-property status, and priests could push families to remain stable.


Interesting how many biblical rules are centered on family cohesion in a tribal setting.

Take the superstition out and look at the context and many proscriptions make sense. Shellfish goes bad fast, pork my carry parasites, etc.

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