One week into our post-Roe v. Wade America, a 10-year-old girl was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana due to the former state’s six-week abortion ban. The ban, which does not allow exceptions for rape, was allowed to take effect shortly after Roe fell last Friday.
Indiana-based abortion provider Dr. Caitlin Bernard told the Columbus Dispatch that on Monday, she received a call from a child abuse doctor in Ohio asking if Bernard could see their 10-year-old patient, who was six weeks and three days pregnant, and provide the child with an abortion. Because abortion remains legal in Indiana, Bernard was able to help the 10-year-old rape survivor, who had to travel across state lines to Indiana to get the procedure. News of the 10-year-old child’s hours-long journey to receive abortion care comes as the Ohio Supreme Court on Friday moved to uphold the state’s six-week ban.
It can’t be emphasized enough that, as some abortion rights advocates compare the reversal of Roe to the Taliban, or fictional dystopias like Gilead, this is the United States of America, and this is happening right now, at the behest of Bible-thumping GOP lawmakers. In recent months, Republicans have called pregnancy from rape “an opportunity,” while Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson openly acknowledged and declined to do anything about the fact that his state’s ban could force child rape victims to give birth.
In the final days before Roe was reversed, we saw a heartbreaking preview of what was to come from Brazil, which also bans nearly all abortions. Last week, an 11-year-old rape victim in the nation was denied an abortion. This state violence enacted upon the bodies of child survivors is the inevitable consequence of abortion bans—this is the present and future to which “pro-life,” ostensibly child-loving Republicans have doomed us.
Even prior to the overturning of Roe, rape exceptions have recently vanished from state-level abortion bans here. And while abortion is still legal in Indiana, where Dr. Bernard offered the 10-year-old girl from Ohio an abortion, this could change before the end of the month: The state’s Republican legislature will convene for a special session on July 25, and is set to vote on a total abortion ban.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, and several states moved to immediately activate their trigger laws and pre-Roe bans, Bernard told the Columbus Dispatch she’s seen “an insane amount of requests” from out-of-state abortion patients, particularly from Kentucky and Ohio, which both banned abortion once Roe fell. (Kentucky’s ban has since been temporarily stayed in court.) A spokesperson from another Indiana-based abortion clinic told the paper that its typical number of abortion patients has doubled in the last week, with many patients coming from Ohio, “crying, distraught, desperate, thankful and appreciative.”