10-Year-Old Child Was Denied an Abortion in Ohio, Traveled to Indiana To Seek Care She Needed

The impact of mass abortion bans will continue to add trauma to victimized children. Here are resources to help patients get the health care they need and deserve.

generic medical examination chair & ultrasound machine
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Three days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that paved the way for abortion rights in the United States, a 10-year-old rape victim who was six weeks pregnant traveled from Ohio to Indiana to receive abortion care services. Ohio refused to help the child, citing its "trigger law," which banned abortions after six weeks of conception.

According to PEOPLE, the child was able to receive an abortion in Indiana after an Ohio doctor who specializes in child abuse cases referred her there to see Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis, where abortion is still legal, albeit not for much longer. The Indiana General Assembly has marked a special session on July 25th when they are expected to pass further restrictions or a ban on abortion care.

"It's hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks, we will have no ability to provide that care," Dr. Bernard told PEOPLE.

While some states rush to enact abortion bans that include civilian enforcement in the form of lawsuits against abortion providers, other states are energizing to expand abortion rights into law or push back against states willing to sue those who seek out-of-state services. For example, democratic Maine governor Janet Mills signed an executive order this past Tuesday to prohibit agencies from anti-abortion investigations of anyone who travels to Maine to receive abortion care.

Many anti-abortion states are looking to restrict travel for pregnant people who may be seeking abortion care in states where abortion remains legal. For example, in Texas and Alabama, lawmakers passed bills allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers in other states, as well as anyone who "aids and abets" an abortion and is eligible to collect up to $10,000 in damages for every abortion performed.

How these states will enforce a travel ban for pregnant people is still unclear since the ability of one state to enforce laws on private citizens in other states has not been tested in the courts. That said, there are currently no laws yet that aim to sue a patient seeking an abortion; however, that may soon change. But with the post-Roe abortion fight landing squarely in the states, there are a dizzying number of bills being drafted to address every angle of abortion care, including whether or not to investigate and prosecute patients.

David Cohen, a law professor at Drexel University, told the New York Times, "There is no guarantee that an aggressive prosecutor might try to stretch the law as much as they can."

It should be noted that not all people seeking abortion care can afford or have the opportunity to travel to a state to receive legal abortion care services. And while the national conversation and focus appear to be on where people can drive or fly to get the abortion they need, there are even more folks who simply cannot.

In 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, President Biden allowed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to permanently lift its ban on mailing abortion pills, handing a huge win to abortion advocates. Because the United States Postal Service is a federal agency, states cannot place regulations on what is allowed to be mailed.

According to PEOPLE, during a press event in Madrid, President Biden said that he would be meeting with state governors to seek a federal answer to the wave of abortion bans across the country.

"The most important thing to be clear about is I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law," PEOPLE reported. "The way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that, and if the filibuster gets in the way, it's like voting rights—it should be [that] we provide an exception to this…requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision."

While the fight for abortion rights reaches a fever pitch, the laws in states across the nation are in flux. It is crucial for anyone seeking abortion care services to look up current state laws, as they are changing quickly.

Here are several resources that may be able to help.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood began in 1916 and provides reproductive health care, sex education, and abortion care, among other health services. You can check out their website to find abortion clinics, information, and resources that are geographically closest to you.

The Auntie Network

The Auntie Network is a Reddit subgroup rich with resources for individuals seeking abortion care. They have voluntarily suspended helper services citing threats of violence. However, they have left their content up that includes information on funding and other services for anyone who needs it.

Medication Abortion Pills

Abortion pills are available in all 50 states; however, some companies are choosing to only ship to states where abortion is legal. Hey Jane is a company that will ship to patients at least 18 years old in New York, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, and Washington in an unmarked box to protect privacy. One work-around many patients use to get abortion pills mailed to them in states where abortion is illegal is to use a mail-forwarding address.

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Our Bodies, Ourselves has a handy resources page that includes organizations around the country that can offer information to anyone who needs abortion care services, family planning, or other reproductive health information.

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