Dave Yost on Fox News
A Columbus area man has been arrested and charged with the rape of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had to travel to Indiana for an abortion due to Ohio's strict heartbeat bill, which bans abortions after six weeks, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The girl's story, first relayed to an Indianapolis Star
reporter by an Indiana abortion provider, became a national headline in the wake of the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe and Ohio's stringent abortion ban taking effect.
President Biden mentioned her tragic tale in a national address, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine faced questions from reporters who wondered how the state's top leader felt about his new law impacting the decisions of a family faced with a child who was now pregnant after being sexually assaulted.
Republican leaders and outlets this week sought to cast doubt on the story since no one contacted after the intial article was published wanted to talk more about the case.
It bears mentioning the story began as one reported anecdotal data point about the pains inflicted by the Supreme Court and Ohio's abortion ban, and those involved in a position to talk about the girl's rape, pregnancy and abortion likely didn't expect it to become international news and might understandably not wish to be further involved or identified amid frothing cultural tensions, not to mention during a time of trauma for the victim and her family.
But in the vacuum, The Daily Caller
and others characterized the Indiana abortion provider as a crusader with an axe to grind and indirectly accused her of concocting the story to further an agenda.
In a front-page editorial today, the Wall Street Journal wrote:
"All kinds of fanciful tales travel far on social media these days, but you don’t expect them to get a hearing at the White House," under the headline "An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm."
And Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, in an appearance on Fox News, said he didn't buy it, noting, "We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere."
“Something maybe even more telling is my office runs the state crime lab," he said. "Any case like this, you’re going to have a rape kit, you’re going to have biological evidence and you would be looking for DNA analysis… There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this... I know our prosecutors and cops in this state. There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock in their jurisdiction if they had the slightest hint that this occurred there.”
He went further in an interview with USA Today, saying as days went by without further corroboration, the "more likely that this is a fabrication."
"I'm not saying it could not have happened," he said
. "What I'm saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence. And shame on the Indianapolis paper that ran this thing on a single source who has an obvious axe to grind."
Yost, before appearing on national cable news, should have listened more attentively for whispers, because they weren't hard to find, especially in the city in which Yost works.
The Ohio Capital Journal
, for example, today noted it called a single department, the Columbus police, and found there were 59 reports of sexual assault against girls 15 and younger since March 15, and that one of them involved a 10-year-old girl.
Yost could have done the same and stopped himself before going on Fox News to decry the tale as false, because if he did he would have found out that Columbus police were directly made aware of the rape and pregnancy by Franklin County Children Services on June 22 and that everything the Indiana abortion provider said and the reporter wrote were true.
In a statement today following the news of the suspect's confession and arrest, Yost said simply, "We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets."
Rep. Jeff Crossman, the Democrat running this November against Yost in the Ohio Attorney General's race, told Scene "This story is horrifying, and it highlights the practical realities that are confronting parents and minors in this state. We knew this was not a hypothetical situation and shame on Dave Yost for suggesting that this didn't happen without even fact-checking. This demonstrates how incompetent his office is: He's willing to make political points instead of doing the actual work."
And as for Yost's claim this week that the 10-year-old would have been legally able to get an abortion in Ohio despite the heartbeat bill ban — she was slightly more than six weeks pregnant — due to an exception, Crossman said: "He's either lying or he doesn't understand the law his own party has written and which he filed a court brief to impose on Ohio. He didn't take the time to take in the implication of what he was imposing on Ohio. It's patently false that a minor victim of a rape can get an abortion in Ohio after six weeks."