Editor’s note: This story contains sensitive content that may be disturbing for some readers.
News of a 10-year-old Ohio girl traveling to Indiana for a medical abortion made national headlines in recent weeks, with President Joe Biden even citing the case moments before signing an executive order aimed at protecting abortion access in the U.S.
The executive order was in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which federally protected the right to abortion. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, individual states can now decide whether to ban, restrict or permit abortions.
“This isn’t some imagined horror. It’s already happening. Just last week, it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim in Ohio — 10 years old — and she was forced to have to travel out of the state, to Indiana, to seek to terminate the [pregnancy] and maybe save her life,” Biden said.
VERIFY viewer LJ reached out to us to ask if we could “confirm the Biden story about the 10-year-old rape victim seeking an abortion or is this misinformation from the administration?”
Is the story of a 10-year-old traveling to Indiana for an abortion true?
Yes, the story of a 10-year-old traveling to Indiana for an abortion is true.
WHAT WE FOUND
A 27-year-old Columbus, Ohio, man was arrested and charged with one count of rape involving a 10-year-old victim. The girl became pregnant and had to travel to Indiana for a medical abortion due to Ohio’s ban on the procedure.
According to Franklin County Municipal Court records obtained by VERIFY, Columbus police arrested Gerson Fuentes on July 12.
Police were able to obtain a search warrant for Fuentes’ DNA, and during an interview with detectives, he admitted to the rape, records show.
Fuentes appeared in court for arraignment on July 13 and was given a $2 million bond. He is currently being held in the Franklin County jail.
According to a report from Columbus-based WBNS, a VERIFY sister station, during the arraignment, Columbus police detective Jeffrey Huhn testified that the investigation began after police received a report from Franklin County Children Services from a parent who said her daughter was pregnant.
Huhn said Fuentes admitted to raping the victim on at least two occasions. Huhn also said that the victim underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 30.
In Ohio, abortions are banned at six weeks into the pregnancy, or around the time a heartbeat can be detected. Exceptions exist if the mother’s life is endangered, but there is no exception for rape or incest. The state also prohibits abortions performed in response to genetic anomaly.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost previously questioned the legitimacy of the report of the girl traveling over state lines to get the procedure, WBNS reported.
Following the arrest, Yost issued the following statement: “My heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child. I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department in securing a confession and getting a rapist off the street. Justice must be served and BCI [Bureau of Criminal Investigation] stands ready to support law enforcement across Ohio putting these criminals behind bars.”
WBNS contributed to this report.