WaPo fact-checks widely-reported anecdote of 10-year old rape victim in Ohio who traveled for abortion

The Washington Post Fact Checker has looked into a widely-reported story of a ten-year old girl in Ohio who needed to travel to Indiana to receive an abortion because of trigger laws enacted by the overturn of Roe v Wade, and determined the anecdote is difficult to confirm.

The story was first published in the Indianapolis Star on July 1. The article, titled “Patients head to Indiana for abortion services as other states restrict care” began with a shocking anecdote about a doctor in Ohio who had a ten-year old patient who was allegedly pregnant. “Hours after the Supreme Court action, the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks,” the article reads. “Now this doctor had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant.”

The article claims the doctor in question, OBGYN Dr. Caitlan Barnard, was contacted by a “child abuse doctor” in Ohio who said they had a patient who was ten years old and pregnant by rape, and would be headed to Indiana to be placed under Barnard’s care due to restrictive Ohio abortion laws were enacted.

The only source quoted by the IndyStar is Dr. Barnard herself, and while she is on the record, there is no indication that any further attempts to verify her story were made.

According to the Washington Post, fact checkers attempted to find such a case in several major cities in Ohio and their surrounding areas and did not find anything matching the account.

The story was reported by several major news outlets around the world, and even featured in one of President Joe Biden’s public addresses last week regarding the striking down of Roe. 




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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