10-Year-Old Rape Victim Denied Abortion in Ohio

She went to Indiana, where abortion is still legal, at least for now
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2022 1:03 PM CDT
10-Year-Old Rape Victim Denied Abortion in Ohio
Abortion-rights activist rally at the Indiana Statehouse following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Saturday, June 25, 2022 in Indianapolis. The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states, although the timing of those laws taking effect varies.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Days after the SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio was forced to cross state lines to Indiana for an abortion. The girl was referred to Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN in Indianapolis, by a colleague who specializes in child abuse, according to USA Today. She was reportedly six weeks and three days pregnant and therefore ineligible for an abortion in Ohio, where a judge allowed a 2019 law banning abortion after six weeks to take effect. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, abortion clinics in the state—joined by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood—quickly followed with a countersuit, arguing that the state constitution allows freedom for personal medical decisions, but the Ohio Supreme Court allowed the ban to remain in effect while it considers the issue.

Abortion access in Indiana remains unchanged, according to the Columbus Dispatch, leading to surge in calls from states where trigger bans took effect. The Women’s Med center in Dayton rescheduled more than 100 patients at its sister clinic in Indianapolis, and clinics across Indiana have seen double or more the usual out-of-state referrals. Abortion providers in neighboring Kentucky shut their doors last week, although a judge on Friday granted a temporary order allowing them to reopen. It’s all led to an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, including in Indiana, where the Republican-dominated legislature plans to take up the issue in a special session later this month, also per USA Today.

On CNN, Dana Bash asked SD Governor Kristi Noem for her thoughts on the 10-year-old girl and whether her state should consider amending its own law, which only allows abortion to save a mother’s life. Pressed on whether the girl’s life could be considered at risk, Noem replied, “I think that’s something that … the doctor, the family, the individuals closest to that will make the decisions there for that family.” She quickly added, “That’s what’s interesting about the time we live in right now. Every state will have different laws on the books. The decisions will be made by the legislators that are closest to the people." (More abortion rights stories.)

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