A Columbus man was charged with first-degree felony rape for impregnating a 10-year-old girl, whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion sparked international attention to the Ohio law that bans abortion in the state once embryonic cardiac activity is detectable.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, whose last known address was an apartment on Columbus’ Northwest Side, was arrested Tuesday after police say he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions.
Under the Republican law, the child would have been forced to give birth to her rapist’s child Ohio is one of 31 states that does not deny rapists parental rights and may even give a chance at custody to someone convicted of sexual assault.
Columbus police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by Franklin County Children Services that was made by her mother on June 22, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday morning at Fuentes’ arraignment.
Huhn said the girl underwent a medical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30.
The detective also testified that DNA from the aborted fetus at the clinic in Indianapolis is being tested against samples from Fuentes and the child’s siblings.
Governor Mike DeWine signed the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act in 2019, which was activated on June 24, 2022, after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the WilmerHale law firm filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court “seeking to block the state’s six-week ban on abortion and to restore and further protect Ohioans’ reproductive rights secured by the Ohio Constitution.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Preterm-Cleveland, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Women’s Med Group Professional Corporation, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, Toledo Women’s Center and Dr. Sharon Liner, an individual abortion provider, to restore access to abortion in Ohio after six weeks and protect the right to abortion provided in the Ohio Constitution.
“Ten years old. Raped, six weeks pregnant. Already traumatized. Was forced to travel to another state,” President Joe Biden said. “Just imagine being that little girl. Ten years old.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appeared on Fox News, where he suggested the young girl’s story was a political hoax, saying he had heard “not a whisper” about it.