COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An Ohio man was accused Wednesday of impregnating a 10-year-old girl who then had to leave the state for an abortion. Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arraigned in Franklin County Common Pleas Court and charged with rape of a child under 13. He was ordered held on a $2 million bond.
The victim in the case was identified as a 10-year-old in statements made at the arraignment hearing and in a news release from Attorney General Dave Yost. It was also stated that the victim underwent an abortion procedure in Indianapolis.
In recent days, after an Indiana news outlet reported a doctor there had been contacted by an Ohio doctor for help getting an abortion for the 10-year-old, the story became a flashpoint in the abortion debate. Advocates criticized the Ohio law that bans abortion after about six weeks’ gestation, and others began to ask whether the story was even true.
“There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this,” Yost said in a Fox News appearance this week.
But after the arraignment, he applauded Columbus police in arresting Fuentes.
“My heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child,” Yost said in a statement. “I am grateful for the diligent work of the Columbus Police Department in securing a confession and getting a rapist off the street.”
The anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life also initially cast doubt on the initial report, saying, “We really need to question the source of this.” In response to the charges, the group offered prayers to the victim but called the abortion a “band-aid solution” that “only added to the pain and violence perpetuated against her.”
On the other side, a state legislator and even President Joe Biden were horrified that the girl had to leave the state for her abortion.
“Ten years old; raped; six weeks pregnant; already traumatized,” Biden said last week. “[She] was forced to travel to another state. Imagine being that little girl.
“Does anyone believe that it’s the highest majority view that that should not be able to be dealt with, or in any other state in the nation? A 10-year-old girl should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can tell you what, I don’t. I can’t think of anything as much more extreme.”
State Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Columbus), who has sponsored legislation allowing Ohioans to sue over an unintended pregnancy, said current state law is devastating.
“I am relieved that she had the resources to leave Ohio to have a necessary medical procedure,” Maharath said.