UPDATE, July 13, 2022, 5:35PM: This report has been updated to clarify there is dispute over Attorney General Yost’s claim about the “medical emergency” exception to Ohio’s heartbeat law.
COLUMBUS (LifeSiteNews) – 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes of Ohio, a suspected illegal immigrant, has been charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl who was taken to Indiana for an abortion, in a story that generated intense speculation for its widespread use as a talking point against pro-life laws following the fall of Roe v. Wade.
On July 1, the Indianapolis Star reported that three days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe, “Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio. Hours after the Supreme Court action, the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks. Now this doctor had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant… the girl soon was on her way to Indiana to Bernard’s care.”
The story offered no additional details about the child, but the claim spread like wildfire throughout the media, becoming a new centerpiece of pro-abortion rhetoric. It was highlighted by President Joe Biden, and questioned by PJ Media journalist Megan Fox, the left-wing Washington Post, and George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, among others.
On Monday, Ohio’s Republican attorney general Dave Yost told Fox News that his office heard “not a whisper anywhere” about the story from law enforcement across the state, including no crime lab requests. He also said that Ohio’s heartbeat law would have allowed the girl to abort the child under its “medical emergency” exception (though it is not clear that is the case from the law’s text, or from Ohio’s definition of “medical emergency”).
READ: California Catholic Conference drops opposition to bill that could legalize infanticide
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Just as many were prepared to determine the story was fake news, however, Fox News’s Aishah Hasnie reported Tuesday that an anonymous “source familiar to this situation” confirmed the existence of the girl.
She also reported that that a source said Indiana University School of Medicine has filed a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act violation against Bernard, who has a history of pro-abortion advocacy and was accused in 2018 of failing to report underage abortions to the state, “for sharing details” about the girl.
“What is still unclear… is whether this girl was forced to cross state lines as the president alleged, or was she simply referred to an expert in a different state,” Hasnie added.
Though Fox’s corroboration was still less than conclusive, on Wednesday the Columbus Dispatch reported that Fuentes, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant according to Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer, was arrested and charged Tuesday “after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions.” He faces a life sentence.
The latest story also includes the first actual details about the case, including that the girl’s mother made a referral to Franklin County Children’s Services on June 22 that first alerted police to the situation, that the girl’s baby was chemically aborted in Indianapolis on June 30, and that DNA from the fetal remains is being tested against that of Fuentes.
On top of why the girl was taken out of state, questions remain as to whether Bernard reported the rape to law enforcement as required by law.
Abortion proponents have long invoked stories of pregnant minors and pregnancies resulting from rape to generate emotional discomfort at the prospect of banning abortion, while pro-lifers continue to stress that circumstances of conception do not change the preborn baby’s innocence or humanity, and therefore society must do all it can to treat both mother and child with compassion, and note the physical and psychological consequences of abortion.
READ: Women testify that mothering children conceived in rape helped save their lives
Pro-lifers also point out the stories of women who have chosen not to abort babies conceived in rape. “I just knew that I had somebody inside my body,” Lianna Rebolledo told LifeSiteNews in 2015. “I never thought about who her biological father was. She was my kid.”