A 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who was six weeks pregnant was forced to travel to Indiana to get an abortion after she became ineligible to get the procedure in her own state. Ohio’s six-week “trigger ban” came into effect on June 24 after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision that legalised abortion in the country.
The case has become a touchstone to spotlight the impact of the court ruling on abortion.
Dr Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynaecologist, told the Columbus Dispatch that she received a call from a colleague doctor in Ohio asking for her help to treat the child victim.
Many abortion providers across states have reported a sharp increase in the number of patients coming to their clinics for abortions from neighbouring states. According to The Guardian, abortion is not yet illegal in Indiana but lawmakers are likely to ban or restrict the procedure when a special session of the state assembly convenes later this month.
“It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks we will have no ability to provide that care,” said Bernard.
POLITICIANS ON ABORTION BAN
The case of the 10-year-old girl has made prominent anti-abortion political figures take the difficult position of balancing women’s rights while defending restrictions on abortion.
CNN asked Republican governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota whether it was right for the child victim to have to cross state lines for an abortion. To this, Noem said the rape of children is “an issue that the supreme court has weighed as well”, adding that the public should also be “addressing those sick individuals [who] do this to our children”.
Abortions are now banned in South Dakota “unless there is an appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female”. As the law stands now, cases of incest and rape are not an exception.
On Friday, the state also banned medical abortion by telemedicine and increased the penalty for the unlicensed practice of medicine when performing abortions.
Asked if she would seek to have the law changed if something similar occurred in her state, Noem said there is more to be done to ensure that “we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl.”
Noem responded to being asked if the girl should have to have the baby and said that “every single life every single life is precious. This tragedy is horrific. But, in South Dakota, the law today is that abortions are illegal, except to save the life of the mother.”
ABORTION BAN IN US
The Supreme Court on June 24 ended constitutional protections for abortion that had stood in America for nearly a half-century. The decision by the court’s conservative majority overturned the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision on the issue of abortion.
With this decision, the Supreme Court has effectively allowed states to enforce bans on abortions.