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US doctor under investigation after abortion for child rape victim

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The US Supreme Court is seen behind a banner protesting its decision to overturn the federal right to abortion./AFP
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Jul 15, 2022 - 03:51 AM

WASHINGTON — Authorities in Indiana said they are investigating a gynecologist who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl who had been raped — a flashpoint case in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the federal right to end a pregnancy.

Caitlin Bernard said earlier this month that she had treated the girl in Indianapolis after being contacted by a colleague in neighboring Ohio.

A trigger law banning all abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest, came into force in Ohio last month after the nation’s high court ended decades of constitutional protection for the right to end a pregnancy.

The girl, who was raped in May by a man who was arrested on Tuesday, was past the six-week cut-off. To get an abortion, she traveled to Indiana, where the procedure is legal up until 21 weeks.

But authorities in the mainly Republican state oppose abortion and are now considering banning the procedure.

Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita criticized Bernard on Wednesday evening, accusing her of not alerting the authorities to the case of the girl, as state law requires in case of sex crimes involving minors.

“We have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report,” Rokita said on Fox News.

“So we’re gathering the information. We’re gathering the evidence as we speak and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure, if she failed to report,” he added.

President Joe Biden spoke of the Ohio rape victim during a July 8 ceremony at which he signed reproductive right protections into law and urged Congress to codify Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established the nationwide right to abortion.

“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,” Biden said.

Until the suspect was arrested, right-wing media and several Ohio authorities questioned whether the story was true.

Now, opponents of abortion are accusing abortion rights advocates of using the girl to promote their cause and blaming the tragedy on Biden’s immigration policy because the detainee is a Guatemalan who entered the country illegally.

“This is a horrible, horrible scene caused  by Marxists and socialists and those in the White House who want lawlessness at the border,” Rokita said.

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