US: 10-year-old rape victim forced to cross state for abortion
The effects of the US Supreme Court's abortion decision have come to light recently in a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim's case, who was six weeks pregnant. Unable to get an abortion in home state, she was compelled to travel to neighboring Indiana for the procedure. Ohio's six-week "trigger ban" took effect on June 24 after the court overturned landmark decision that had legalized abortion.
- The US Supreme Court recently overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had been in place for nearly 50 years, giving women constitutional and legal rights to abortion.
- The court, in a 6-3 ruling, upheld a Republican-backed Mississippi law, banning abortion after 15 weeks.
- The ruling was made possible by the nomination of three conservative judges by former President Donald Trump.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis, informed the Columbus Dispatch that she was contacted by a colleague physician in Ohio asking for assistance in treating the child victim. Many abortion providers have reported an increase in patients from neighboring states seeking abortions. "It's hard to imagine that in just a few...weeks we will have no ability to provide that care," Bernard reportedly stated.
According to The Guardian, abortion is still not illegal in Indiana, but legislators are likely to ban or limit the procedure later this month when a special session of the state legislature convenes. Additionally, the state has also reportedly increased the fine for performing abortions without a license on Friday while outlawing medical abortions performed via telemedicine.
The 10-year-old girl's case has forced notable anti-abortion political figures to defend abortion restrictions while balancing the rights of women. CNN asked S Dakota's Republican governor, Kristi Noem, if it was appropriate for an abortion victim to cross state lines. Noem responded that the court has also considered the issue of child rape, adding that the public should be "addressing those sick individuals (rapists)".
"I don't believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy," Noem stated when asked whether she would seek to change the legislation if a similar incident occurred in her state. When asked if the girl must have the baby, Noem highlighted the fact that the law currently makes abortion illegal while stating, "Every single life...is precious. This tragedy is horrific."
When asked if enabling an abortion on the 10-year-old would've been considered protecting the mother's life, Noem didn't single out that interpretation. "Yes, in that situation, the doctor, the family, the individuals closest...will make the decisions," she stated. South Dakota has currently outlawed abortions completely. As the law currently stands, neither incest nor rape constitutes an exception unless the infant endangers the mother's life.