Abortionist under investigation after questions raised about reporting of 10-year-old girl's rape

An exam room at the Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is shown following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016.
An exam room at the Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is shown following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016. | Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman

Indiana's attorney general's office is investigating whether an abortion doctor who made national headlines after revealing that a raped and impregnated 10-year-old girl crossed state lines to obtain an abortion reported the case to the proper authorities as an undocumented immigrant was arrested for the crime Tuesday.  

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said in an interview with Fox News Wednesday night that his office is looking into whether Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlan Bernard failed to report the underaged abortion of the rape victim to the proper authorities as required by law.  

Additionally, Fox News reported Wednesday that Bernard's employer, Indiana University Health, recently filed a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) complaint against her for letting the girl's story get out in the news media. HIPAA aims "to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge."

The story about the 10-year-old girl was first published by The Indianapolis Star and repeated by Biden Friday while signing an executive order expanding access to chemical abortions and other "reproductive health services" following the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade

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Bernard told the outlet on July 1 that she received a phone call from a child abuse doctor in Ohio. The doctor claimed that the call came three days after the Supreme Court returned the abortion issue to the states and triggered an Ohio law banning abortion after six weeks. 

The story's validity was questioned in an article by Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler and PJ Media's Megan Fox in a series of tweets. It is not clear if the girl felt she had to go to another state to obtain the abortion or if she was referred to another doctor in another state.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost contends that the girl could have had the abortion in the state because Ohio's abortion law contains a medical emergency exception. 

Providing more validity to Bernard's claim, The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday the arrest of a Columbus man charged with the rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio. Gershon Fuentes was arrested after he confessed to raping the girl on at least two occasions. 

Citing an unnamed source with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Fox News reports that Fuentes is a Guatemalan national who entered the U.S. illegally. 

The girl, who just turned 10, was believed to be 9 years old when the rape occurred, according to Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer. 

The girl's mother filed a report through Franklin County Children Services on June 22, which alerted Columbus police to the girl's pregnancy. During Fuentes' Wednesday arraignment, Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified that the minor underwent a chemical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30. 

During a segment with Fox News Host Jesse Watters, Rokita said his office is gathering information and looking at Bernard's licensure.

"If she failed to report it in Indiana, it's a crime for — to not report, to intentionally not report," Rokita said. 

"This is a child, and there's a strong public interest in understanding if someone under the age of 16 or under the age of 18 or really any woman is having abortion in our state. And then if a child is being sexually abused, of course parents need to know. Authorities need to know. Public policy experts need to know." 

State law requires reporting abortions for girls under the age of 16 to the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Child Services within three days of the abortion. 

An audit of pregnancy termination reports released by Indiana Right to Life in 2018 listed Bernard as one of nine abortionists who failed to report underaged abortions to the health department. 

The news cycle surrounding the girl's plight has drawn renewed outcry from pro-life activists who contend that some abortionists are skirting reporting laws and covering up child sex abuse.

"We have tried for years to get this particular subject covered," Mark Crutcher, the founder and president of Life Dynamics, a pro-life group that provides information about abortion risks and abusive practices within the industry, told The Christian Post.

The organization has released numerous undercover investigations and information showing abortion facilities covering up child sex abuse.  

Life Dynamic has documented numerous instances of abortion facilities failing to act as mandatory reporters in child sex abuse cases. 

In February and March of 2002, Life Dynamics conducted an undercover phone survey of 813 of the 906 abortion facilities the organization identified as being a part of Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. In the phone calls, an adult woman with a childlike voice posed as a 13-year-old girl seeking an abortion after being impregnated by a 22-year-old man. 

Life Dynamics claims this was a mandatory reporting situation, but 90% of the counselors they spoke to reportedly agreed to ignore the law. 

In some of the tapes Life Dynamics posted online, clinic workers can be heard instructing the undercover investigator to provide a fake name and address, promising they wouldn't check it. 

"Some of them even went to the point of saying, 'Look, you've already given me too much information, so call this other abortion clinic,'" Crutcher told CP. "And when you call them, don't tell them your boyfriend is a grown man. Don't tell them that you're 13 years old." 

"What you have to understand is [the abortion facility] has got two people there that they're involved with. They've got the girl that's pregnant or may be pregnant," he continued. "And they've got the perpetrator. The perpetrator is the one with the money."

"So he's the one that they protect. They don't care about that girl at all. Anyone who cared about that girl would not be giving her this information on how to circumvent these laws and protect victims of child rape."

Life Dynamics has also collected information about cases of abusers taking underage girls for abortions without a report being made by abortion facility staff.

Crutcher said one particularly egregious case centered around a man named George England, who purchased a 5-year-old girl in 1972 after being discharged from the U.S. Army in Vietnam. 

England traveled around the states with the girl, with court documents showing that he impregnated her for the first time when she was 13. He forced her to give up the first baby for adoption. 

Court documents also show that England impregnated the girl an additional eight or nine times over the next six years, forcing her to have an abortion each time. Life Dynamics alleges that none of the facilities committing the abortions filed a report, noting that England continued abusing the girl until she was 19. 

In 2018, the pro-life organization Live Action released a docuseries showcasing instances where Planned Parenthood carried out abortions on girls as young as 12, ignoring pleas for help and returning the victims to their abusers. 

Live Action News summarized the cases of Planned Parenthood failing to report child sex abuse and performing abortions on minors.

Citing a 2015 Fox News report and a sheriff's report, the pro-life advocacy group described a case where Planned Parenthood Arizona counselor intentionally coded a 15-year-old girl's sexual assault as consensual. The counselor allegedly told the victim, "they did not want the hassle of having to report the assault to law enforcement as they were a mandatory reporter."

In 2012, Denise Fairbanks settled a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, alleging that they ignored her pleas for help after her father impregnated her and forced her to have an abortion. The lawsuit says Planned Parenthood's failure to report the sexual abuse forced Fairbanks to endure it for another year and a half.

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