A man has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl after she reportedly had to travel across state lines for an abortion following the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.
The young girl’s story was highlighted by President Joe Biden last week as he signed an executive order aimed at protecting access to abortion.
The US leader warned that the historic ruling by the conservative-dominated court puts the ‘health and life’ of women at risk.
The suspect’s arraignment in Ohio came days after the state’s Republican governor and other conservatives raised questions about whether the story was real.
A detective testified on Wednesday that police learned about the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by children services that was made by her mother and that she had an abortion in Indiana, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
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 abortion in Ohio under a newly imposed state ban on abortions at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat”.
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Appearing on Fox News on Monday, Republican Ohio attorney general Dave Yost had said he hadn’t heard “a whisper” from law enforcement in Ohio about any reports or arrests made in connection with such a case.
Mr Yost suggested later in the interview that the young rape victim would have met the Ohio “heartbeat” abortion ban’s exception for medical emergencies.
It is unclear, however, that the girl’s condition met the law’s definition of an emergency, which must be life-threatening or involve a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Yost said the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation stood ready to help prosecute the case.