After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, a story emerged about a 10-year-old girl who was raped and then forced to travel to another state to get an abortion.
The story went viral after it was first posted in the Indianapolis Star on July 1 — exactly one week after the high court ended the constitutional right to an abortion.
The article, penned by the paper’s medical writer, revolved around the premise that women were traveling from Ohio to Indiana to have abortions. But it was the one-source anecdote that opened the piece that caught fire. “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.”
“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 reporter wrote.
The story was mired in doubt. If there was a 10-year-old girl out there who had been impregnated, certainly there’d be a criminal investigation into her rape.
But Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said this week that there was “not a whisper” of evidence to back up the story. “The bottom line is it is a crime if you’re a mandated reporter to fail to report. It’s also the fact that in Ohio the rape of a 10-year-old means life in prison,” Mr. Yost said on Fox News.
“Any case like this you are going to have a rape kit, you are going to have biological evidence, and you would be looking for DNA analysis, which we do most of the DNA analysis in Ohio. There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this,” the attorney general said.
The Washington Post, as it occasionally does, decided to check it all out. The paper’s fact checker, Glenn Kessler, noted that “there is no indication that the [Star] newspaper made other attempts to confirm [Dr. Bernard’s] account,” adding that the lead reporter, Shari Rudavsky, “did not respond to a query asking whether additional sourcing was obtained.”
Dr. Bernard, for her part, wasn’t talking, “Thank you for reaching out,” she told Kessler in an email. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information to share.” Convenient. But don’t worry, the MSM won’t press — the story’s already out there.
Then it turned out that Dr. Bernard is a huge abortion activist. “#DrCaitlynBernard, the only source, is an abortionist and has been in the NYT participating in an anti-Trump hit piece and is clearly an activist. She has a stake in preserving abortion, it literally pays her bills,” Megan Fox of PJ Media posted on Twitter.
Finally, on Tuesday, Police in Columbus, Ohio, arrested Gerson Fuentes, 27. He allegedly confessed to sexually assaulting the child on at least two occasions and was charged with rape, a first-degree felony, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday that Columbus police came to know about the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services in Ohio, which was made by her mother on June 22. He said the girl had an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, the Dispatch reported.
According to the Dispatch, Fuentes had lived in Columbus for seven years and had a steady job at a cafe. But get this: He’s an illegal alien. The Guatemalan immigrant crossed into the U.S. unlawfully, Fox News reported, citing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
So the story goes full circle: First, it’s a liberal indictment on abortion in America, then it’s a conservative indictment of President Biden’s weak-willed border policy.
It goes without saying that the rape of a young girl is despicable. We can only wonder if that could have been prevented had Mr. Biden done a better job securing our borders.
Correction: A previous version of this column misspelled the first name of suspect Gerson Fuentes.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl
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