The White House has refused to offer proof to support President Biden’s claim that a 10-year-old rape victim was denied an abortion in Ohio and had to travel to Indiana for the procedure.
Mr. Biden said the story illustrated the “extreme” anti-abortion laws taking hold in states after the Supreme Court overturned a nationwide right to abortion.
When asked about the story, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to say if the administration had taken steps to verify the story or if it knew the girl’s identity. Instead, she referred questions to the Justice Department saying there was a “legal component.”
“I would refer you to the DOJ, I don’t have anything more to share on the identity of this young woman or the question you asked,” she said.
She said Mr. Biden highlighted the story to underscore how “extreme” anti-abortion laws are in states that have outlawed the decision.
When pressed again if the administration, including the Justice Department, will take steps to protect the girl, Ms. Jean-Pierre sidestepped the question.
“I think what the president is calling on and what he has laid out is to protect girls and women like her and beyond,” she said.
The Indianapolis Star published the story based on claims from Indianapolis gynecologist Caitlin Bernard. She said a colleague in Ohio who treats child abuse victims asked for help with a 10-year-old girl who was six weeks pregnant.
Ms. Bernard told the paper last week the girl was traveling to Indiana for an abortion because the procedure is outlawed in Ohio. It is not known if the supposed child arrived in Indiana or received an abortion.
The story was widely disseminated by liberal-leaning media outlets. Some conservatives have questioned the veracity of the story.
Mr. Biden talked cited the plight of the preteen victim when signing an executive order to protect abortion access.
“Just last week it was reported that a 10-year-old girl was a rape victim and she was forced to travel out of state to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life. That last part is my judgment,” Mr. Biden said.
“Ten years old! Ten years old!” Mr. Biden said, raising his voice. “Just imagine being that girl! Ten years old! Does anyone believe that this Ohio majority view … that this 10-year-old girl should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child. I can’t think of anything as much more extreme.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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