Jul 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ohio man arrested for rape of 10-year-old who had to seek abortion in Indiana

Dueling abortion demonstrators in Ohio
Counterprotesters hold signs in favor of abortion rights and against an anti-abortion prayer circle in Toledo, Ohio, on June 25. Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A man in Ohio has been arrested for raping a 10-year-old girl, who then had to travel out of state for an abortion.

Why it matters: The case is an example of how state laws in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will bar access to abortion care, even in extreme cases of rape and incest.

State of play: Gerson Fuentes was arrested Tuesday according to court filings, after he confessed to raping the child. He was charged with rape of a minor, which is a felony in Ohio punishable by life imprisonment.

  • The officer who arrested Fuentes said during his arraignment on Wednesday that the girl underwent an abortion in Indiana on June 30, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
  • Fuentes is being held in county jail on a $2 million bond.

State of play: The Indianapolis Star first reported this month that the girl had to travel to Indiana because she was past the point in which she could access abortion in Ohio.

  • The story made international headlines. President Biden used the case as an example of how restrictive an abortion ban can be when signing an executive order to protect abortion access: "Imagine being that little girl."
  • Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) said on Fox News that he did not believe the case was real because he had not heard of a report filed in the case.
  • After the news of Fuentes' arrest was reported, Yost issued a statement saying: "We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets," per The Columbus Dispatch.

Catch up fast: The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe gave states the power to regulate abortion at any stage of the pregnancy.

  • Shortly after the high court’s decision, a measure Ohio lawmakers approved earlier this year that restricts access to an abortion after the six-week mark of pregnancy went into effect.
  • Since Roe was overturned, patients from Ohio and Kentucky have streamed to Indiana to access care that they no longer can get in their home states. Indiana has not yet enacted a similar ban, but its state legislature is holding a special session where it is expected to later this month.

Go deeper: Roe v. Wade summary: Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade

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