Man accused of raping Ohio girl, 10, who traveled for abortion

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A man was arrested in Ohio on Wednesday for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl whose case drew national attention following comments by a doctor that the child needed to go to the hospital. ‘Indiana for an abortion due to new restrictions in her home state after the recent landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court.

The suspect’s indictment came days after some conservatives, including the Republican governor and Ohio attorney general, raised questions about whether the case was real. Democratic President Joe Biden had highlighted the matter last week when signing an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion.

A detective testified Wednesday that Columbus police learned of the girl’s pregnancy through a Franklin County Children’s Services referral made by her mother on June 22 and that she had an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30. , reported the Columbus Dispatch.

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An Indianapolis doctor who provides abortion services, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, told The Indianapolis Star that an abortion was performed for such a child because the girl could not get an abortion in Ohio in under a recently state-imposed early abortion ban. detectable “fetal heart rate”. A judge lifted the suspension of the ban after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Appearing on Fox News on Monday, Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he hadn’t heard “a whisper” from Ohio law enforcement about any reports or arrests in connection with such a matter. Yost suggested later in the interview that the young rape victim would have met the exception to Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion ban for medical emergencies.

“This young girl, if she exists and if this horrible thing happened to her – it breaks my heart to think about it – she didn’t have to leave Ohio to find treatment,” he said. .

It is unclear, however, whether the girl’s condition meets the law’s definition of an emergency, which must be life-threatening or involve a “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of bodily function.” major”.

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In a statement Wednesday, Yost said the state Bureau of Criminal Investigations was ready to help pursue the case. He did not respond to his earlier suggestions that the case was fabricated.

Gov. Mike DeWine, who like Yost has come under fire for questioning the veracity of the case, had no further comment for Wednesday, spokesman Dan Tierney said in an email.

“As we previously reported, Governor DeWine views this crime as a horrific tragedy, and he has said that if the evidence supports it, the rapist should spend the rest of his life in jail,” he said. .

Police say the 27-year-old suspect confessed to raping the girl. He was arrested on Tuesday and has not pleaded guilty.

A message seeking comment was left for the public defender representing him on Wednesday.

Associated Press reporter Sophia Tulip in New York contributed to this report.

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