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Ohio minors sought out-of-state abortions after being sexually assaulted, affidavits say

The rape of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who reportedly had traveled to Indiana for an abortion is not the only case of a minor being forced to cross state lines as a result of a state law that bans virtually all forms of abortion. process. providers say.

In affidavits filed this month included as part of a lawsuit challenging the Ohio law, which took effect after the US Supreme Court in June overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade’s ruling guaranteeing the constitutional right to abortion: Two separate providers said they each had a case in which a minor was sexually assaulted and had to travel out of state to terminate her pregnancy.

Aeran Trick, operations manager for the Women’s Med Center of Dayton, said they were contacted in July about a 16-year-old girl in southwestern Ohio who had been sexually assaulted, allegedly by a family member.

The girl couldn’t legally access an abortion in Ohio “due to the presence of a fetal heartbeat,” Trick said, so she traveled to Indianapolis, where the center operates a sister clinic. Ohio police were aware of the case, added the hack, and had to go to Indianapolis to retrieve tissue for testing as part of a sexual assault investigation.

“I am concerned that Ohio’s ban and the need to travel increasingly long distances to obtain abortion services will not only cause unimaginable harm to these young victims, but could also hamper law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute. these cases in the future,” Trick said in the affidavit.

In another case, a minor who was sexually assaulted was brought to Michigan by her mother for an abortion, according to an affidavit from Dr. Adarsh ​​Krishen, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, who is a plaintiff in the demand.

“This patient experienced immense trauma from the assault itself and then endured further trauma from a forensic interview along with a physical exam to gather evidence for the ongoing police investigation,” Krishen said in the affidavit. “This trauma was further exacerbated by having to wait over 3 weeks for his appointment. At every step of this process he felt the complete denial of bodily autonomy and security, something that all people, especially children, should unequivocally have at all times.”

The affidavits were first reported by the Ohio Capital Journal. NBC News could not immediately verify the accounts provided by Trick and Krishen, and their offices did not respond to a request for more details.

The initial report of the 10-year-old girl having to have an abortion outside of Ohio due to the state ban drew attention and scrutiny from Republicans like state Attorney General Dave Yost, when a doctor, Caitlin Bernard, said The Indianapolis Star about the case

President Joe Biden highlighted it as an example of how ending the constitutional right to abortion had imposed undue hardship on states with so-called trigger laws, or abortion bans that would take effect only if Roe was struck down.

“Ten years old, 10 years old, raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, forced to travel to another state,” Biden said during a White House speech in July, as he signed an executive order protecting access to abortion.

An investigation led to the indictment of a 27-year-old suspect on two felony counts of rape. A trial is scheduled for next month in Franklin County.

Yost’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the affidavits.

The Ohio Supreme Court this month dismissed a case brought in June by abortion providers who argued that the Ohio constitution has broad protections for individual liberties that would safeguard access to abortion.

But another lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of the state’s remaining abortion providers remains before a lower court judge, who temporarily blocked the state’s ban on abortions until Oct. 1. 12. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for October 1. 7.

In an earlier statement about the initial lawsuit, Yost disagreed that abortion rights are protected under state law. He is one of several defendants in the current lawsuit.

“Races don’t start at the finish line and lawsuits don’t start at the final court,” he said. “In addition to filing the wrong action in the wrong court, they are also wrong on Ohio law. Abortion is not in the Ohio Constitution.”

In the wake of Roe’s nullification, 13 states have enacted laws restricting most abortions. Ohio’s law banning abortions, if upheld, would ban the procedure with only limited exceptions for the life and health of the mother.

Medical providers said in their affidavits that they were overwhelmed by the ban and forced to cancel hundreds of appointments this summer, and patients faced difficult decisions about what to do.

“Many patients broke down in tears in our office,” Sharon Liner, medical director of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, said in the affidavit. “Many patients that we could not reach by phone who came to our health center waiting for their appointment were very upset; some threatened to hurt themselves because they were so disturbed.”


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