Indiana’s Republican attorney general said Wednesday his office would investigate a health care provider who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who was raped and have become pregnant.
Attorney General Todd Rokita appeared on Fox News to deal with reports the girl was forced to cross state lines from Ohio — where abortion is now illegal after about after six weeks of pregnancy — to Indiana. The story change into national news after the Indianapolis Star Tribune first reported details of the case from Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who said the girl’s parents discovered she was six weeks pregnant and due to this fact ineligible for an abortion despite being sexually assaulted.
Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis, told media outlets she provided care to the kid after her family brought her to Indiana, where abortion is legal within the state until the twenty second week of pregnancy. Doctors there have reported an influx in patients from neighboring states after the Supreme Court’s decision striking down abortion rights.
Republicans, nevertheless, have seized on the kid’s ordeal as evidence more restrictions are needed to rein in abortion access. Rokita said his office could be looking into Bernard’s conduct, and focused more on what he called an “abortion activist acting as a health care provider” than on the accused child rapist.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arrested and charged with rape on Wednesday.
“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the tip, including taking a look at her licensure if she didn’t report. And in Indiana it’s a criminal offense … to intentionally not report,” Rokita told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Wednesday. “It is a child, and there’s a robust public interest in understanding if someone under the age of 16 or under the age of 18, or really any woman, is having abortion in our state.”
Rokita’s office didn’t reply to a request to make clear his comments or explain what laws he believes Bernard can have broken.
Each Indiana and Ohio have strong requirements for reporting rape allegations and abortions, Politico noted. Ohio Attorney General David Yost told Fox News his office hadn’t heard of a case involving a 10-year-old rape victim.
Republicans and Fox News hosts initially tried to discredit the story of the 10-year-old, with The Wall Street Journal saying in an editorial that the story was “too good to verify.”
Those claims were refuted after Fuentes was arrested and police said the timeline provided as evidence matched Bernard’s reports, The Recent York Times reported. (The Journal appended an editor’s note to its piece and published a separate editorial correcting the record.)
Bernard addressed the story of the girl briefly remarks on Twitter Wednesday evening, saying she was “so sad” the country was failing survivors of sexual assault.
“My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse,” Bernard said. “I’m so sad that our country is failing them after they need us most. Doctors must have the opportunity to offer people the medical care they need, when and where they need it.”
My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I’m so sad that our country is failing them after they need us most. Doctors must have the opportunity to offer people the medical care they need, when and where they need it.
— Caitlin Bernard (@drcaitbernard) July 14, 2022
Abortion rights groups have warned within the weeks because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade that Republicans would seek to penalize individuals who cross state lines to hunt an abortion, or doctors who provide them care. President Joe Biden signed an executive order last week meant to safeguard Americans in each cases.
Democrats have decried the kid’s experience as evidence of the hardships Americans are already facing after the Supreme Court ruling, with Biden bringing up the girl as he signed his order last week.
“She was forced to must travel out of the state to Indiana to hunt to terminate the pregnancy and possibly save her life,” Biden said on the White House. “Ten years old — 10 years old! — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to a different state.”