Following the arrest of a man, 27 year old Gerson Fuentes, for allegedly raping an impregnating a 10 year old girl, conservatives are leveling attacks at the doctor who treated her. Todd Rokita, Indiana’s Republican attorney general, announced Wednesday night on Fox News that his office is investigating Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana doctor who provided abortion services to the girl, who traveled from Ohio to Indiana to terminate a pregnancy after being raped.
“First of all this is an illegal immigration issue,” Rokita told Jesse Watters. “Then we have the rape and then we have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report.” “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 it in Indiana, it’s a crime for – to not report, to intentionally not report.”
The network aired Bernard’s name and photo, a tactic previously wielded against abortion providers by longtime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
Rokita went on to blame the situation on “Marxists and socialists and those in the White House who want lawlessness at the border,” and characterized Bernard as an “abortion activist” who along with the “lamestream media, the fake news” wants to politicize the girls assault.
“If so-called doctors are covering up child rape, they need to be prosecuted,” Watters said.
In a Wednesday night tweet, Bernard said that her “heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I am so sad that our country is failing them when they need us most. Doctors must be able to give people the medical care they need, when and where they need it.”
Days before the arrest, Ohio Attorney General David Yost appeared on Fox News to say there was “not a damn scintilla of evidence” that the case was real, and attempted to shame the Star for running “this thing on a single source who has an obvious axe to grind.” Yost claimed that “we don’t know who the originating doctor in Ohio was, if they even exist, but the bottom line is that it is a crime if you’re a mandated reporter to fail to report.” Following Fuentes’s arrest, Yost did not acknowledge his previous comments, instead releasing a statement expressing condolences to the girl and indicating his support for law enforcement in their investigation.
Yost did not mention the doctor after the arrest, but other conservatives did. “So a 10-year-old girl was raped in Ohio by an illegal alien and could’ve gotten a legal abortion in the state bc it threatened her life but the doctors didn’t report it to the police, shipped her over to Indiana, and turned it into a media story to sell abortion to the public,” wrote commentator Greg Price.
At this time Rolling Stone could not identify any credible reporting indicating the doctors involved in treating the girl failed to alert authorities to the situation.
The rape case drew international attention in the immediate aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which rendered abortion in Ohio illegal past the point of fetal heartbeat detection, with the only exception being scenario where the is an “emergency threatening the pregnant person’s life or bodily health. According to the Columbus Dispatch, law enforcement was made aware of the pregnancy on June 22 through a referral from Franklin County Children Services. Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified at Gerson Fuentes’s arraignment that DNA samples confirmed that Fuentes was the contributing party to the pregnancy.
In the weeks leading up to the arrest, prominent right-wing pundits and government officials attempted to discredit the story as a liberal pro-abortion fantasy. Prominent media outlets, both fringe and mainstream, jumped at the emerging narrative. After President Joe Biden alluded to the case in a speech last Friday, The Wall Street Journal called the story “fanciful” under the headline “An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm.”
Now that the man allegedly responsible for the assault has been arrested and provided law enforcement with a confession, many who intentionally threw dirt on the veracity of the story are attempting to pivot public attention away from their own mistake by focusing on Fuentes’ alleged undocumented status, and vilifying the doctor who provided potentially life saving treatment to a child in a horrific situation.
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