*Update: Since the publishing of this story, a Columbus, OH, man has been arrested for and confessed to raping the young girl on at least two occasions. Columbus police revealed they were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services on June 22. Despite the national media coverage and debate over the validity of the story, however, this information was not made available to the media and the general public until July 13.
It was a sordid tale of health care neglect and the desperate need to protect abortion services in the post-Roe v. Wade United States. The story was of a 10-year-old rape victim who was forced to leave her home state of Ohio and travel to Indiana, where she would be allowed to have an abortion, performed by Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a physician and pro-abortion activist. The account of cruelty towards this preteen victim went viral.
Like an unchecked locomotive hurtling down the tracks, the liberal-left dailies in major markets grasped at the engine until the fervor and outrage boiled over. The White House and President Joe Biden angrily commented on this story while promoting an executive order on abortion, conservative governors were cornered, and Bernard’s name and account appeared in every article as the only quotable source. That is until one DC daily’s fact-checker finally got down to the business of fact-checking. Hallelujah.
Did Any of It Pass the Sniff Test?
The original yarn of horrendous woe started with the Indianapolis Star:
“On Monday, three days after the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio. Hours after the Supreme Court action, the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks. Now, this doctor had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant. Could Bernard help?”
No one who heard of the sad story could find fault with the victim in any way, shape, or form. But then the thinking people began to ask questions: Why is the first account told in Indiana and not Ohio? Were there news reports of such a violent crime against a child in Ohio? Better yet, is there a police report? A pregnant child is a crime, and any physician anywhere in the United States is bound by oath to notify the police when a sexual assault on a minor is so blatantly obvious. But in every news account, there is no reporting of the event that created this young girl’s pregnancy.
A few journalists started to dig deeper than the surface layer of publicity. One Megan Fox with PJ Media tweeted a laundry list of reasons to believe the story was a hoax: Only Bernard is cited as the source. Why does this Indiana physician only point to an unnamed “child abuse” doctor in Ohio? No Ohio elected official is demanding an investigation. And, lastly, the timing is amazing.
Another alarming aspect of this case is that the first call Bernard apparently made was to the media.
Fox’s report nudged Glenn Kessler, fact-checker at a prominent DC newspaper, to make some calls asking for vetting policies from the Indianapolis Star and received bupkis. Calls to the only source, Bernard, were dealt with swiftly, if not vaguely, as all she said was, “Thank you for reaching out. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information to share.” Or, in layman’s speak, get lost.
Cold shoulder aside, the final analysis was damaging, as was the headline Kessler ran: “A one-source story about a 10-year-old and an abortion goes viral.” He reported:
“The story’s lead reporter, Shari Rudavsky, did not respond to a query asking whether additional sourcing was obtained. A Gannett spokeswoman provided a comment from Bro Krift, the newspaper’s executive editor: ‘The facts and sourcing about people crossing state lines into Indiana, including the 10-year-old girl, for abortions are clear. We have no additional comment at this time.’”
It’s unprovable. It’s improbable. And it begs the question: What office is Dr. Bernard running for, or is it a desire for more time under the media spotlight?
As the saying goes, you can’t un-ring a bell, and the Bernard abortion bell is still clanging in the ears of the pro-choice crowd; they just have to redirect the narrative. Much like the White House.
Mr. Biden, at first incensed and lecturing the press, stated, “Just last week, it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim in Ohio – ten years old – and she was forced to have to travel out of the state, to Indiana, to seek to terminate the [pregnancy] and maybe save her life.”
Those fiery remarks soon changed after Kessler dropped his exposé. During a White House presser, beleaguered Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre could not say whether Biden had relayed a factual story. She proceeded to deflect: “The President spoke to that – a young woman – just to show how extreme the decision on – the Dobbs decision was and just how extreme it is now for American public, the American families.” Which translated means it was a broad statement – not a factual account per se.
Oh, the gaslighting games people play to get what they most desire, whether it be fame, power, or the realization of a political goal.