Validity of viral story of 10-year-old girl crossing states for an abortion called into question

A July 1 story from the Indianapolis Star about a 10-year-old having to cross state lines in order to receive an abortion is under heavy scrutiny for its validity. Between July 1 and July 5, the story had gone viral and the hashtag #Shes10 was trending on Twitter.

On July 8, President Biden invoked the story as truth when he signed an Executive Order to expand abortion from the federal level. “She was forced to have to travel out of the state to Indiana to seek to terminate the pregnancy and maybe save her life,” Biden said, “Ten years old, raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state.”

Journalist and broadcaster at PJ Media Megan Fox was the first to point out the many “red flags” in the story on Twitter saying, “The story about a 10 yr old pregnant girl who had to go from Ohio to IN [Indiana] for an abortion gives me serious pause for a number of reasons. There are many red flags. I’m going to detail them here.”

As Fox writes, the facts surrounding the story are questionable. The original Indianapolis Star piece was written by Shari Rudavsky and Rachel Fradette and relied on a single source, Dr. Caitlyn Bernard. The Indianapolis Star piece credited her as an abortion doctor who passed along the story of the state-crossing abortion seeking child to reporters.

Fox notes “#DrCaitlynBernard, the only source, is an abortionist and has been in the NYT participating in an anti-Trump hit piece and is clearly an activist. She has a stake in preserving abortion, it literally pays her bills.”

Another questionable quality to the story that Fox points out was “A pregnant 10 year old is evidence of a heinous crime against a child but in every article (and there are SO MANY) there is no mention of criminal investigation, no police involvement, not even a town where this allegedly occurred.”

Fox notes that any doctor who knows of child abuse is required by law to inform authorities and there was and is no criminal investigation into the matter.

Criticism began to mount after Fox’s initial Twitter post and on Saturday, The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, ran a piece about the 10-year-old abortion story and also raised concerns about its validity.

Washington Post affirmed Fox’s reporting but concluded the Indianapolis Star piece was a “difficult story to check.”

Megan Fox claimed that Kessler also erased her role in the investigation. Kessler wrote that the Indianapolis Star‘s “anecdotal beginning” had “caught the attention of other news organizations.” Fox replied that those “other news organizations” were “literally me, myself, and I.”

She concluded, “It probably hurt too much to admit that a conservative news outlet and an independent journalist smoked the Washington Post.”

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