Another inconclusive fact-check on that story about a pregnant 10-year-old

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

She’s the most famous 10-year-old in the world right now but does she actually exist? Yesterday Allahpundit wrote about the story of a pregnant 10-year-old in Ohio who allegedly was unable to get an abortion because she was 72 hours past the state’s legal limit. The story has literally circled the globe after it was published by one local newspaper. Yesterday President Biden took it up and told it at a news conference making it a centerpiece of Democratic pushback against the overturning of Roe v Wade.


As Allahpundit pointed out, Snopes has already done one fact check on the story and couldn’t reach any firm conclusions. Today, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post also tried to fact-check the story. He also couldn’t prove or disprove it, partly because the abortionist who is the source refuses to offer any details that might help corroborate it.

[Dr. Caitlan] Bernard declined to identify to the Fact Checker her colleague or the city where the child was located. “Thank you for reaching out. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any information to share,” she said in an email.

Dan Tierney, press secretary for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), said the governor’s office was unaware of any specific case but he said under the state’s decentralized system, records would be held at a local level. Thus, he said, it would be hard to confirm a report without knowing the local jurisdiction to narrow the search. He added: “The rape of a ten-year-old certainly would be newsworthy.”

As a spot check, we contacted child services agencies in some of Ohio’s most populous cities, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo. None of the officials we reached were aware of such a case in their areas.

In his conclusion, Kessler sounds skeptical without actually ruling this story false.

This is a very difficult story to check. Bernard is on the record, but obtaining documents or other confirmation is all but impossible without details that would identify the locality where the rape occurred.

With news reports around the globe and now a presidential imprimatur, however, the story has acquired the status of a “fact” no matter its provenance. If a rapist is ever charged, the fact finally would have more solid grounding.


While it’s impossible to reach a conclusion without additional information it is interesting that Kessler was unable to find a story of rape that matched the initial report. And unlike Snopes, he was at least able to speak with Dr. Bernard who refused to give him anything that might corroborate it. She gave the same non-answer to the Daily Caller.

Of course I wouldn’t expect a doctor to identify a child victim by name, but she would be aware that the Post would also never print the victim’s name. She could have at least offered a county or city on background to help the paper verify the story without worrying it would lead to the victim’s name being released.

And that brings me to something else which several people have noted about Dr. Bernard. She’s not just an OB-GYN who performs abortions, she also has leadership roles at Planned Parenthood.

Licensed to practice in Indiana, Dr. Bernard holds leadership roles at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and serves as co-director of research at the AMPATH Reproductive Health Working Group. Her research has appeared in several journals.

A writer for PJ Media (our sister-site) also noticed that Dr. Bernard does a lot of media hits aimed at amping up concern about the end for Roe.


So I think it’s fair to say Dr. Bernard is not only affiliated with Planned Parenthood, she’s an activist who has frequently done media hits and even been involved in lawsuits in her state. In other words, she’s a pro-abortion activist. That doesn’t make her story false but it does suggest she’s the kind of person who’d love to go to the media with a story just like this given a chance. She’s a motivated partisan not an outside observer.

This story has become too important for the facts to remain guarded by one individual with an agenda. If it’s true then we all need to know that. If it’s not true then we all need to know that as well. No one is suggesting the victim’s name or identity should be revealed beyond what is already known (she’s a 10-year-old girl) but it should be easy enough for professional news organizations to track down and verify this story while keeping the girl’s identity out of it. If nothing else, there is a rapist out there who ought to be going to jail for this. Even if the rapist is himself underage (something we don’t know) the fact that a juvenile has been charged is not a secret off limits to the media.


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