The 10-year-old Rape Victim’s Abortion Leaves a Number of Glaring Questions

Below is my column on the case of the ten-year-old rape victim who allegedly was taken to Indiana because an abortion was barred in Ohio. (A shorter, edited version of this column ran in the New York Post). There is a Fox News report that it was able to confirm an abortion involving a ten-year-old girl in Indiana but could not confirm the other claims. Fox is also reporting that a HIPAA complaint has been filed against Dr. Caitlin Bernard. There remain, however, questions as to why the child had to leave Ohio, which has exceptions that would apply to the case. This may reflect confusion among these doctors, but the law seems clear on the available exceptions. There is also the question of what happened to this child and whether a police report was filed. There may have been such a report. It should not violate HIPPA or other laws to confirm that a report was filed and the victim has been protected by authorities.

Here is the original column:

“Not a whisper.” Those three words from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost left many of us perplexed on Monday night when he said that his search for a notorious child rape case in his state had turned up nothing. The case of a ten-year-old girl raped and impregnated in Ohio was the focus of not just exhaustive coverage and outrage in the media, but the condemnation of the President of the United States. However, the Yost comments added to some unanswered questions about underlying facts in the controversy, including the need to transport the child to Indiana to have the pregnancy terminated.

The story of the child rape united the nation in revulsion, but also became the rallying point for the condemnation of the Supreme Court, including in comments by President Biden. In his White House address, Biden decried that this child “was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life. Ten years old — 10 years old! — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.” The President used the story to attack the Supreme Court and ask “What century are they in?”

The media also exhaustively covered the story. On MSNBC, Joy Reid declared “It is hard to imagine anything more cruel, more disturbing than forcing a child, a 10-year-old still playing with fidget toys and tablets to carry her father or her brother’s child to term or forcing her to travel across state lines for an abortion. And yet, here we are.”

Indeed, when the story broke, it was hard for most of us to imagine such a horrific situation. However, it was also hard to imagine why these doctors took this action when the treatment could have occurred in Ohio, which not only has an exception to protect the life of the mother but also “to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” Moreover, it was not clear if case was raised after a heartbeat was detected (around six weeks) in such a case.

The story remains based entirely on an account from Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis.  Indianapolis Star reporter Shari Rudavsky reported that “On Monday three days after the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio.”

Bernard told her that immediately after “the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks [she] had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant.” She then explained how Bernard performed the abortion.

When the story ran, some of us noted that the Ohio law actually does not prohibit abortions after six weeks but after “fetal heartbeat has been detected.” Being three days over the six-week line is not a bar on abortion. More importantly, it also has the exceptions for cases like this one.

Even Yost (who is pro-life) said that this abortion clearly fit within the exceptions and could be legally performed in Ohio.

Yost, however, was equally curious about the absence of a criminal case. Under Ohio law,  any such case must be reported to police and Yost’s office would likely be involved in any DNA testing that is common in such cases. He said that his staff could not find a single police report or a lab case.  Indiana law also requires medical professionals like Dr. Bernard to report such cases. So both the “child abuse doctor” and Dr. Bernard were presumably under an obligation to report the rape.

Various news organizations have tried to get Dr. Bernard to confirm a few of these basic facts, which can be addressed without revealing the name or specifics of the patient. After all, it was Dr. Barnard who went public with the story and later went on television with MSNBC to discuss the controversy and “what does it feel like on your end of that phone call?”

Even liberal newspapers like Washington Post could not get any new information from Dr. Bernard. The Post’s “fact checker” Glenn Kessler noted in his column in the Washington Post that the Indianapolis Star story did not seem to meet basic journalistic standards and that the lead reporter Shari Rudavsky also refused to answer basic questions. Kessler noted “the only source cited for the anecdote was Bernard. She’s on the record, but there is no indication that the newspaper made other attempts to confirm her account.”

None of this means that this did not occur. However, if it is true, there is a child rapist who is still at large. Alternatively, if this was a family member, a child may be living in the same house as her rapist.

Moreover, this story indicates that two physicians who are involved with abortion services required a child to be carted off to another state when she was legally allowed to have this procedure in Ohio.

The apparent lack of interest in a follow up (or even a substantive response) by the Indianapolis Star is equally baffling. The Star should be able to confirm the basic facts of the story without compromising any source. Not only did Bernard not request anonymity, but Indiana has a strong media “shield law” to protect their sources.

There have been a number of false or inaccurate claims made about abortion law and the Dobbs decision, including false claims that women can be prevented from traveling for medical care or that ectopic pregnancy treatments are now barred as abortion in some states.

These false accounts can be a dangerous form of disinformation if women believe that they cannot receive treatment for legal procedures as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy or a ten-year-old rape victim.

Moreover, given the possible risk to this and other children from this rapist, the President and these media outlets should be calling for confirmation and an intervention in this story. The only thing that is “harder to imagine” than such a denial of medical services for this child would be the decision to let her fend for herself or just return to the same dangerous conditions. Her victimization should not become exploitation where her story rather than her current wellbeing is the primary concern of coverage.

124 thoughts on “The 10-year-old Rape Victim’s Abortion Leaves a Number of Glaring Questions”

  1. The mother reported the pregnancy of her child on June 22 to Franklin County Children Services. Why didn’t the Franklin County Children Services report the rape to Ohio law enforcement. The Ohio six week limit was exceeded. No one is reporting just how long this child had actually been pregnant? We do know that no one cared about this child rapist remained at large without any report being made. Could there be more victims of this pedophile and could their rape have been prevented? In many such cases it is the mother who brings a boyfriend into the home. Did the Franklin County Children services not inform law enforcement because they knew that the perpetrator might be deported and the child would be taken from her mother because she put the child in harms way? It seems to me that there’s a hell of a lotta splaining to do Lucy. The mother did not report the rape to law enforcement in Ohio and the abortion doctor should have reported the rape no mater what state she was performing abortions in. Some believe that reporting the rape of a child in Ohio should not be required by a doctor in another state. Does the crime become less heinous at the state line? Some say that there was no profit motive but I disagree. There’s a whole lot of millions of dollars in the abortion racket and they don’t want to see the end in sight.

  2. Joe Biden’s administration lies with abandon. Ole Joe has been a known liar for decades.

    Nothing they say can be trusted as truth.

  3. Well, isn’t it just dandy. Now all of sudden, after all the glaring omissions, everything has immediately fallen in line. It is claimed everything was reported, that tests were done, and they have confessions and are declaring a dna test is underway. Isn’t that special. It’s like the whole thing was planned. I submit it either was or is still just a giant wash of lies, and of course no authorities will be introuble because it tows the proper lines, 100%, for the woke.

  4. “Not a whisper.” Those three words from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost left many of us perplexed on Monday night when he said that his search for a notorious child rape case in his state had turned up nothing.

    The Yost is incompetent. Because according to USA Today, the girl’s “mother reported the girl’s pregnancy to Franklin County Children Services on June 22, which informed Columbus police, said Det. Jeffrey Huhn on Wednesday at [rapist Gershon] Fuentes’ arraignment”. … The girl told police Fuentes was responsible for her pregnancy, Huhn testified. Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer said she had recently turned 10, meaning she was likely impregnated at 9 years old.”

    The USA Today story quotes Turley: “We have little proof that the story is true despite some significant legal and factual questions.” Will Turley follow up now that there’s proof the story is true?

  5. Thank goodness the rapist has been arrested. If not, Biden would have probably accused those ‘horse whipping’ border agents of the crime.

  6. She is belies the age of consent, and for that alone is a crime victim. It’s a no brainer decision – she should be able to get the aborting. BUT. Suppose he wants to keep it?

  7. COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus man has been charged with impregnating a 10-year-old girl whose story of traveling to Indiana for an abortion garnered international attention, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

    According to court records obtained by 10TV, 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes has been charged with one count of rape involving a 10-year-old victim.

  8. OT: Consumer Price Index increases in June 9.1%, compared to previous year

    Number marks the biggest yearly increase since December 1981
    Let’s congratulate the Obama administration and the left.

    1. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

      – Alexander Tytler

    2. No. How about we congratulate the true cause of our inflation: Trump. He’s the one whose incompetence and lying about the pandemic caused US factories, restaurants and schools to mostly close down for about 2 years. He turned around Obama’s successful economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. He ‘s the one who imposed tariffs on China when he couldn’t bully them, the result of which is shortages of computer chips and consumer goods. Since demand exceeds supply, prices have gone up. Some factories haven’t reopened. The supply chain is compromised. He drove unemployment to over 10%, which Biden has reversed to under 3.5%. He’s the one who got a tax bill passed that mostly benefitted the very wealthy, and which drove the national debt to record levels. Interest on the national debt alone is a driver of inflation. School kids are still behind. Gas production went down during the Trump Pandemic because some people got laid off, started working from home, stopped taking vacations because it wasn’t safe and school buses stopped running because schools were closed to in-person learning. That artificially depressed the price of fuel, and some refineries still aren’t back on line. Then, there’s the war with Ukraine that Trump praised as “savvy” and “genius”, and due to sanctions against Russia, the cost of fuel has gone way up.

      Let’s congratulate your hero who, according to Rick Wilson, kills everything he touches.


        Your “true cause” will be truly tested in November.

        For you to be correct, Americans will need to be true “idiots.”

        Be there to celebrate, K?

        1. No, November will not be the “true test” of anything. The fact that so many people believe the lies put out by Fox, OAN, NewsMax, InfoWars and Breitbart is tangible proof of the gullibility of a segment of the American populace. That they believe the Big Lie, despite all proof to the contrary and based on virtually nothing but the lies of a selfish narcissist who refuses to accept the fact that he got rejected by most Americans a second time is truly concerning. His incompetence causing the shut down for about 2 years and the trade war he started with China, along with tax cuts, ARE the biggest causes of the inflation from which America is suffering right now. An economy cannot go from record level recession and 10% unemployment to less than 3.5% unemployment with the robust recovery we have right now, with lingering supply chain issues and shortages of consumer goods, without there being inflation. You can’t really refute the things I claim with any contrary facts, now can you? But to the alt-right news devotees, they’ll believe Hannity and Tucker when they try to blame Biden for inflation.

      2. “[Trump’s] the one whose incompetence and lying about the pandemic caused US factories, restaurants and schools to mostly close down for about 2 years.”

        I did not realize that a president has the authority to compel governors and mayors to issue executive orders to shut down businesses and schools, and to issue lock down orders.

        One learns fantastic things on a legal blog.

  9. Breaking news: the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that 27 year-old Gershon Fuentes has been arrested for the rape, and that he has admitted to raping the child “at least twice.”

  10. Since Turley went on the Fox payroll, his grip on truth has gotten more and more tenuous. Turley makes the amazing claim that the 10 year old Ohio rape victim didn’t have to leave her state and go to Indiana, because Ohio’s law would have permitted the abortion, based on the following exception to its ban on abortions: “to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” This vague wording absolutely cannot reasonably be construed to allow, much less guarantee, the right an abortion for a 10 year old rape victim. What about a pregnancy would cause “substantial and irreversible impairment of” any “major bodily function”? Turley doesn’t explain, because he cannot, but that’s not the reason for today’s piece: it is to, once again, deflect away from yesterday’s bombshell testimony by Cipollone and the Oath Keeper and others, and also to get in a few licks at Democrats and media he likes to criticize. The comment by “thetennants1970” is instructive of Fox’s mission and Turley’s role: “Ds like biden and his ‘minders’ do not deal with facts or the truth.” Then “tennants” claims that Biden and Democrats “fabricate stories to achieve their ends.” No, “tennants”, it’s Fox and Turley who do not deal with facts or the truth.

    Joe Patrice of “Above the Law” wrote an excellent piece about Turley and his dangerous claim that anti-abortion laws don’t outlaw termination of an ectopic pregnancy. You might want to check it out.

    1. Indeed. Turley is now and has been for quite a while the go to prof for the right wing. Abortion bans will profit procedures that are life saving but no matter Turley and the gang don’t care. So a few women die; they don’t matter anyway.

      1. I have said it once, and I will say it again, Turley now operates as a political operative.

  11. Ds like biden and his “minders” do not deal with facts or the truth. They depend on generating emotion, instilling fear, fabricating stories to achieve their ends. All the nonsense elected Ds, Planned “Parenthood,” the ACLU, whoever … about contraceptives, coat hangers, etc. display how weak they are when it comes to facts about states’ rights in this area.

    1. Aged like milk. Just admit that you don’t care about women getting raped.

  12. Elective abortion enables rape… rape-rape and incestuous relationships with girls, women in darkness.

    1. No, abortion does not enable rape.

      Rapists will rape whether or not abortion is legal, as is amply demonstrated by the existence of rape where abortion is illegal. You condemn abortion, but you don’t condemn rape, and that makes you pretty sick.

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