An Ohio man has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl whose case drew national attention following a doctor's comments that the child had to travel to Indiana for an abortion, an account that had led some prominent Republicans – including Ohio's attorney general and a congressman – to suggest it was fabricated.
Democratic President Joe Biden highlighted the case last week at the signing of an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion as state after Republican-led state, including Ohio, enacted near-total restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court's recent landmark ruling.
The President's reference to the case bothered many conservatives, with Fox News online attempting to discredit the account as "repeated by President Biden last week, but the widely shared story is facing increased skepticism and hasn't been verified by even left-leaning fact checkers," Shockingly, "even left-wing fact-checker Snopes could not determine if the story was true." (Of course, a fact-checker leans left because facts have a liberal bias.)
CBS News added
A detective testified Wednesday at an initial court appearance for the 27-year-old suspect that Columbus police learned about the girl's pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother June 22, and that she had an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The detective said DNA from the Indianapolis abortion clinic was being tested to confirm paternity.
An Indianapolis physician who provides abortion services, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, had told The Indianapolis Star that an abortion had been provided for such a child because the girl couldn't get the procedure in Ohio under a newly imposed state ban on abortions at the first detectable "fetal heartbeat." A judge lifted a stay on the ban after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
As Judd Legum details, an entire right-wing campaign was unleashed. Tucker Carlson declared the news item "not true." Further
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appeared on another Fox News show, Jesse Watters Primetime, to attack the Indianapolis Star report. "We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere," Yost said. In a subsequent interview with USA Today, Yost said that there was "not a damn scintilla of evidence" to support the story, which he described as a likely "fabrication." Watters himself concluded that the story "fits a pretty dangerous pattern of politically timed disinformation."
The Ohio congressman to whom CBS referred was the famous, more deservingly infamous, Jim Jordan:
A 10-year-old girl was raped in @Jim_Jordan's home state of Ohio.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 13, 2022
Jordan publicly called the story a lie.
Then, after the rapist was arrested and confessed, Jordan deleted the tweet without any acknowledgment or apology. pic.twitter.com/ot4SaDtbBz
Conservatives understood that Americans might realize that if an abortion could be denied to a 10-year-old rape victim, every woman would be in jeopardy. Among the worst offenders was the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which called Indianapolis Star Shari
Rudavsky's report a "fanciful tale" that was "too good to confirm." Ignoring Bernard's first-hand account, the editorial claimed there is "no evidence the girl exists." The piece criticizes Bernard for not providing details that could expose the identity of the 10-year-old including "where the alleged crime occurred" and "the Ohio doctor who referred the case." They suggested that Bernard perpetrated a hoax because she has "a long history of abortion activism in the media."
5. The other issue seized on by the right-wing, and then @GlennKesslerWP at the Washington Post, is under Ohio law that it is mandatory a rape to a child welfare agency.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 14, 2022
That is true.
But it's not mandatory for those reports to be made PUBLIC. https://t.co/OrmuZLtI7m
Yost is unrepentant. Jordan is unrepentant. No Republican will admit to error because to forced-birth advocates, no error was made.
8. Ohio could have included a rape or incest exemption. It did not.— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) July 14, 2022
Instead, it included an ambiguous health exemption that may or may not apply to this 10-year-old girl.
It makes sense for a doctor to refer her out of state to avoid potential prosecution.
A safe prediction:
This is the first documented case of a child rape survivor having to flee her state to secure an abortion but it will not be the last. https://t.co/y7u0EHncE3— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 14, 2022
It will not be the last. Donald Trump is the GOP hero and the only Republican with a serious chance of heading him off is the similarly cruel Florida governor, Ron DeSantis. Pro-life is not the point for party officials. Cruelty, and coercion of women- even rape victims- are on their wish list.