a protest sign held up that reads "Abortion is Healthcare"
Credit: Gayatri Malhotra

Content warning: This story contains references to sexual violence.

I think we can all agree that MAGA’s unprecedented obsession with truth in regard to the rape of a ten-year-old girl in Ohio was really a sneaky attempt to divert attention from this rather unsettling fact.

It’s illegal for a ten-year-old girl to get an abortion in Ohio—even if she’s been raped. I mean, think about this, people . . .

Making a ten-year-old girl go through nine months of pregnancy and then give birth to a child fathered by the man who raped her? That’s pretty cruel and demented—even for MAGA.

And yet that’s exactly what they were going to do until a doctor from Indiana, of all places, came to the rescue.

I’m diving into a story out of Ohio and Indiana for a parochial purpose. It’s a warning, Illinois voters, of what awaits you should MAGA take control of our state in the next election and impose their hateful abortion laws on us as they’ve done to residents of Ohio. 

Now to the details . . .

The ten-year-old needed an abortion because she had been raped. She couldn’t get an abortion in Ohio because it has a “fetal heartbeat law” that outlaws abortion after six weeks of conception. Again, even for ten-year-olds who have been raped.

By the time the girl met with a doctor in Ohio, she’d been pregnant for just over six weeks. So the doctor in Ohio called a colleague in Indianapolis—Dr. Caitlin Bernard—and the girl traveled to Indianapolis for an abortion.

On July 1, the girl’s story was reported in an article in the Indy Star by Shari Rudavsky and Rachel Fradette.

In a matter of days, the story had been picked up by newspapers all over the world. On July 8, President Joe Biden felt compelled to denounce the cruelty of Ohio’s abortion law. (What the hell took you so long, Mr. President?)

At which point MAGA had a choice. They could take the high road and admit there’s something twisted about forcing ten-year-olds who’ve been raped to give birth. Or they could counter-attack with a diversionary strike against the Indy Star and Dr. Bernard.

MAGA being MAGA, they went with the second option.

Thus began days of disparaging comments by MAGA, questioning the validity of the story. Pointing out that Dr. Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist, was the sole source. And how dare the Indy Star print a story that had only one source.

(By the way, it’s rich for MAGA to suddenly be obsessed with the truth, given they’re dedicated to the lie that Biden stole the election from Trump.)

Congressman Jim Jordan called the story a “lie.” The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial questioning its legitimacy. 

Dave Yost, the attorney general of Ohio, who is (what else?) a Republican, went on (where else?) Fox TV to disparage the Star’s story. He said, “We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs—not a whisper anywhere.”

On Saturday, July 9, Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker for the Washington Post, weighed in, calling it a “one-source” story. No one but Dr. Bernard had reported a ten-year-old had been raped. Ohio governor Mike DeWine knew nothing about it. Nor had “child services agencies in some of Ohio’s most populous cities, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo. None of the officials we reached were aware of such a case in their areas.”

On Tuesday, July 12, Yost took it a step further, telling USA Today the story is “more likely . . . a fabrication.”

He added: “I know the cops and prosecutors in this state. There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn’t leave him loose on the streets . . . I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence.”

And then on Wednesday, July 13, Gerson Fuentes—of Columbus, Ohio—was “charged with raping a ten-year-old Ohio girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion attracted international attention,” as the Indy Star put it.

Turns out that Dr. Bernard and reporters Rudavsky and Fradette got it right. And apparently, Yost never bothered to check with cops in Columbus, when asking if they knew of any ten-year-olds who had been raped.

At which point MAGA had another choice. They could do the right thing and acknowledge they might want to rethink their barbaric abortion laws.

Or they could double down with the counter attack. Well, you know MAGA.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita—another MAGA Republican—went on Fox, vowing to investigate Dr. Bernard to determine if she had filed the proper paperwork before she performed the abortion. (She had.)

Noting that Fuentes was not a citizen, Rokita declared the case “is an illegal immigration issue [likely because] of Biden’s lawlessness at the border and everything going on down there.”

Even though Fuentes has been in this country before Biden became president.

Rokita went on to denounce the “Marxists and socialists and those in the White House who want lawlessness at the border.”

Then he took another shot at Dr. Bernard, like she was the villain in the case. “This girl was politicized, politicized for the gain of killing more babies, all right? That was the goal. And this abortion activist is out there front and center.”

That’s an interesting take from a law-and-order prosecutor. It’s like he’s madder at the law-abiding doctor than he is at the alleged rapist. 

The bottom line is this: Ohio officials in Ohio, including the Republican governor, let 12 days lapse before they effectively confirmed, with Fuentes’s arrest, what they had to have known all along—a ten-year-old girl had been raped in Columbus. 

In the aftermath, I’m wondering if Yost really did contact “prosecutors and local police and sheriffs” like he said he did. So far, it looks like what Kessler would call a “one-source” story. 

Like I said, Illinois: you’ve been warned.

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