July 15, 2022 – The anti-abortion zealots and their shills in public office and the media have shown their true colors over a tragic case involving a fourth-grader impregnated by rape.
The attorney general of Ohio publicly derided reports that an Ohio child had to cross the state border in order to obtain abortion care in Indiana because Ohio now bans abortion at six weeks. The girl — who was probably 9 when assaulted — was six weeks and three days pregnant when her pregnancy was terminated in the bordering state.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appeared on Fox News to express skepticism about the case in emphatic terms.
“Every day that goes by the more likely that this is a fabrication,” Yost declared. “I know the cops and prosecutors in this state. There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock looking for this guy, and they would have charged him. I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence. And shame on the Indianapolis paper that ran this thing on a single source who has an obvious ax to grind.”
Yost insisted til the bitter end that “not a whisper” was heard about this 10-year-old rape victim (as if sexual assault ever rates this kind of attention).
Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Emily Compagno and other Fox hosts insinuated it was a “hoax” and “politically timed disinformation” and charged that President Biden, who had spotlighted the case, was “lying” about it.
It wasn’t just Fox News. It was also the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which ran an editorial titled “An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm: Biden told a tale of a 10-year-old rape victim that no one can identify.”
And it wasn’t just the Ohio attorney general trying to deny that children in our nation get raped and become pregnant. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted: “Another lie. Anyone surprised?” Other anti-abortion leaders and extremist public officials piled on.
Then, suddenly, news broke that the rapist, 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes, has confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. (Disgustingly, but predictably, Fox hosts quickly deflected by harping on the suspect for being an “illegal immigrant.)
Rep. Roger Williams, among other extremists in Congress, expressed shock that a 10-year-old could even get pregnant, saying “I’m a pro-life guy, OK? And God’s in charge on this. … We’re all God’s children. This is a tough call, and I don’t know if I know that answer right now, because now you’ve got another baby involved: She’s pregnant. … She’s a baby.”
At least he had the humanity to say that much. Not so much humanity was expressed by Rep. Debbie Lesko, who, while admitting she was “struggling” with the facts, quickly assuaged her own doubts by adding: “I have a close friend who was raped and had the baby and has told me that she is thankful every day that — she was a minor, and she decided to have the child, because it’s a blessing.” (How come the Ohio attorney general isn’t expressing his doubt about this story?)
While abortion is still legal in Indiana, thus providing a medical sanctuary for this traumatized child, abortion rights in that state are expected to fall after a special session convenes on July 25 to ban abortion. Meanwhile, the anti-abortion attorney general of Indiana says he will “not relent” in investigating the Indianapolis ob-gyn who performed the abortion! Yes, he claims she failed to report child abuse — even though the attack had already been reported by the girl’s mother and was being investigated in Ohio, and even though the child abuse physician in Ohio had contacted her to perform the procedure. It’s obvious Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is going after Dr. Caitlin Bernard because she has been outspoken in criticizing anti-abortion bans.
“It’s always shocking to me that people are surprised to hear about these stories,” Bernard has said. “The fact that anyone would question such a story is a testament to how out of touch lawmakers and politicians are with reality.”
Guttmacher Institute reports that about 7,000 U.S. girls 14 or younger are impregnated annually, with about half obtaining abortion care. (That it’s only half is heartbreaking.) Anti-abortionists —who are doing their best to subjugate and disempower girls and women — profess “shock” that rape exists? That preteens can get pregnant?
What is shocking instead is their lack of conscience or remorse over what they have wrought. This case is undoubtedly not the only such instance since the Supreme Court allowed Texas last fall to virtually ban abortion care, or since it overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. We used to read about these extreme cases in Latin American countries ruled by the Catholic Church, and shake our heads. Now it’s happening here in the United States — and it’s just the beginning of unspeakable injustices and hardships, most of which will never be known to the general public.
Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. She co-founded FFRF in 1976 as a college student with her mother Anne Nicol Gaylor. She served as the editor of FFRF’s newspaper, Freethought Today, from 1985-2009. She became FFRF co-president with Dan Barker in 2004. Annie Laurie has authored three books for FFRF: Woe to Women: The Bible Tells Me So; Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, and Women Without Superstition: “No Gods – No Masters” the first anthology of women freethinkers. www.ffrf.org