- The Washington Times - Friday, March 4, 2005

LUFKIN, Texas (AP) — The would-be teen mother arrived by ambulance last May, her belly bruised, the twin fetuses she carried for five months gone and her lips tightly sealed.

Authorities assumed 16-year-old Erica Basoria had been beaten and they charged her boyfriend, Gerardo “Jerry” Flores, 18, with murder under the state’s new law protecting the unborn.

But it wasn’t that simple. Miss Basoria told authorities she had been trying to kill the fetuses for weeks and finally asked Mr. Flores to help by stepping on her stomach.

“When I was four months pregnant, I began to show, and at that time I decided that I should have gotten an abortion,” Miss Basoria wrote in an affidavit.

Although Mr. Flores faces prosecution, Miss Basoria can’t be charged because the new law — like many others across the nation — bans prosecution of mothers on the grounds that they have a legal right to end pregnancies.

The case has attorneys on both sides questioning the fairness of a statute that considers one person’s actions a crime and another person’s a constitutional right.

“How can two people conspire to do something like this and only one of them be punished? How can that be fair?” defense attorney Ryan Deaton asked.

Prosecutor Clyde Herrington said it was startling that “they completely leave the female out of the criminal penalty.”

“It doesn’t seem entirely fair,”

Miss Basoria didn’t return calls for comment, but wrote in an affidavit that her family encouraged an abortion: “They said I was too young to have children.”

Mr. Flores’ mother, Norma, shunned the idea, saying, “It’s a life that wants to live.”

At four months, when the mirror betrayed her, Miss Basoria wanted out. She feigned taking prenatal vitamins and jogged when she wasn’t supposed to.

“About two weeks before the miscarriage, I started hitting myself,” she wrote. “I would do this every other day and I would use both of my fists when I did this. I would hit myself 10 or more times.”

Then she turned to her boyfriend.

“I said I didn’t want to do it,” Mr. Flores recalled. But she kept pleading, he said, until he agreed to step on her.

The night of the miscarriage, the couple fought and Mr. Flores acknowledged to police “accidentally, probably” hitting Miss Basoria in the face, though she said he wasn’t regularly abusive.

Later, he awoke to Miss Basoria’s screams and found her crying, bleeding and hunched on the toilet. Mr. Flores’ mother and sister went to the hospital and he stayed behind, cleaning up the blood and returning to bed.

Mr. Flores has since been charged with capital murder, though prosecutors aren’t seeking the death penalty. He remains in jail, awaiting a trial date.

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