Despite the story being retold by Joe Biden at a White House press conference, fact-checkers have still been unable to verify the story of an alleged 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel across state lines to get an abortion.
Fox News reports that after the initial report by the Indianapolis Star, no other outlets have confirmed the story’s authenticity, including left-wing fact-checkers. Biden mentioned the story during his press conference announcing a new executive order aimed at increasing access to abortion, following the Supreme Court’s historic ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and returning the matter of abortion to the individual states.
“On Monday three days after the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio,” the piece in the Star claimed. “Hours after the Supreme Court action, the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks. Now this doctor had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant.”
Biden repeated the story, claiming without evidence that the girl “was forced to have to travel out of state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life.”
However, no proof has been presented to confirm the story, as Bernard is the only person who has gone on the record with the claims. The newspaper’s editor, Bro Krift, nevertheless defended the decision to publish the story, declaring that “the facts and sourcing about people crossing state lines into Indiana, including the 10-year-old girl, for abortions are clear. We have no additional comment at this time.” But even Krift was forced to acknowledge that it was “very difficult” to confirm the story’s veracity.
When multiple other outlets tried to reach out to Bernard for additional comment, she refused to respond. When the Washington Post reached out to her, Bernard responded with “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information to share.” Left-wing fact-checker Snopes confirmed a similar response, saying that Bernard “had not returned our request for an interview, and we had not been able to independently corroborate the abortion claim.” It has since been revealed that Bernard is a far-left abortion activist who has previously sued the state of Indiana over its restrictions on abortion.
Adding to the possibility that the story is entirely fabricated, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R-Ohio) said on Monday that his office has heard nothing about such a case. Yost said that despite having “regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs,” his office has heard “not a whisper anywhere” about the story.
“Something maybe even more telling,” Yost continued, “is my office runs the state crime lab. In a case like this, you’re going to have a rape kit. You’re going to have biological evidence, and you would be looking for DNA analysis, which we do most of the DNA analysis in Ohio. There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this.”
As Fox notes, a crime such as the rape of a 10-year-old would instantly result in a criminal investigation by the state of Ohio, and any physician dealing with such a victim would be required to report the crime to either local child welfare or law enforcement.
“It is a crime if you’re a mandated reporter to fail to report,” Yost explained further. “It’s also the fact that in Ohio, the rape of a 10-year-old means life in prison. I know our prosecutors and cops in this state. There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock in their jurisdiction if they had the slightest hint that this occurred there.”