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Indiana doctor who gave abortion to 10-year-old says she’s felt threatened since story broke

The Indiana doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio says she has felt threatened over the many critics who have doubted the national headline-grabbing story.

Speaking on “CBS Evening News,” Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an ob-gyn, challenged those who questioned the veracity of the case to “come spend a day” in her clinic to witness the different difficult situations many women have found themselves in that require abortions.

In the 10-year-old girl’s case, she crossed state lines from Ohio — where abortions are restricted — to terminate the pregnancy in Indiana on June 30. She was six weeks and three days pregnant, making it too late for her to receive abortion care under Ohio’s abortion law triggered by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

President Joe Biden highlighted the case as proof of the evils of anti-abortion legislation following the Supreme Court’s decision to end the right to an abortion at the federal level nearly 50 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard said that she’s felt threatened since the story broke.
She was 9-years-old at the time of the rapes.
Gerson Fuentes admitted to raping the young girl at least twice.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

“Come spend a day in my clinic. Come see the care that we provide every single day,” Bernard said to those who don’t believe the girl’s story in an interview that aired Tuesday night.

“You know, the situations that people find themselves in, and in need of abortion care are some of the most difficult that you could imagine. And that’s why we, as physicians, need to be able to provide that care unhindered, that medical decisions need to be made between a physician and their patients,” Bernard told host Norah O’Donnell.

When asked if she has felt threatened since news of the appalling case broke, Bernard confirmed that “yes,” she has.

Bernard said that people did not understand the circumstances that lead women to abortions.
Bernard criticized the politicization of the abortion issue.

“It shows how, you know, abortion, instead of being part of health care, which it is — a needed, life-saving procedure, which it is, has been used to create a wedge between people politically and personally,” she said. “And it shows how far we have come and how sad that is.”

After Biden outlined the case, some lawmakers and media outlets labeled the case a politically motivated fallacy after no police reports could be found for the rape of a 10-year-old in Ohio.

But soon after the case gained national attention, illegal immigrant Gerson Fuentes, 27, was busted and confessed to police to having sex at least twice with the young girl,  who would have been just 9-years-old when she was impregnated.

“Unfortunately, sexual assault in children is not uncommon. I’m not the only provider who has taken care of young children needing abortion care,” Bernard said.

Fuentes is being held on $2 million bond after being charged with felony rape of a minor under 13 years old in the case and is due back in court Friday.

Since the Dobbs decision, Bernard said women across the country are struggling to get the abortion care that they’d had access to just months ago.

“We’re hearing stories all across the country of people who are in dire circumstances, complications of their pregnancies or traumatic situations and are in need of abortion care and are not able to get it,” she said.

“This will affect our ability to take care of miscarriages. This will affect our ability to take care of complications in early pregnancy that could kill someone. This will affect our ability to provide infertility treatment, contraception. This list goes on.”

Ohio’s conservative pro-life attorney general Todd Rokita suggested Bernard may have committed a crime by performing the abortion on the girl.

In response, Bernard sent Rokita a registered tort claim notice giving 90 days to “investigate or settle” her claim or to expect a lawsuit for defamation.

On Tuesday, Rokita’s office contacted Bernard and her lawyer for the first time, two weeks after he called her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”

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