Another Form Of Rape

Indiana AG Todd Rokita is one of the few politicians in our polarized age who is despised on both sides of the political aisle. His naked ambition has led him into the fever swamps of the far Right, and the most recent example–reported in the linked article from Talking Points Memo–was his effort to smear the ob-gyn who terminated the pregnancy of a raped ten-year-old.

Rokita suggested that the doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, had failed to file mandated reports with the state about the abuse and the abortion. At least, Rokita claimed, he could find no evidence for any reports. Bernard is an “abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report,” Rokita told Fox News on Wednesday. “We’re gathering the information, we’re gathering the evidence as we speak and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at [Bernard’s] licensure, if she failed to report. In Indiana it’s a crime for … to intentionally not report.”

If Rokita weren’t shameless, he would have apologized after Indianapolis’ Fox affiliate easily ascertained–via a simple public records request– that Bernard had properly filed all required paperwork, and had also reported that the patient was a victim of abuse. (That abuse had also been reported to authorities in Ohio by the girl’s physician there.)

In other words Rokita went forward with a series of defamatory claims and accusations against Bernard and called down a nationwide campaign of harassment and vilification against her apparently without even the most cursory of records checks that were not only available to him as attorney general but members of the public in roughly 24 hours.

Rokita is one of several despicable Republicans who responded to the initial reports about a pregnant ten-year-old with accusations that the incident was manufactured–that the child didn’t exist, and that the rape and pregnancy were inventions of those hated liberals. 

Those attacks were really another form of rape.

I never doubted the accuracy of the report, but–like most Americans–assumed that a pregnancy in someone so young was a very rare situation. I was shocked to learn that it is far less rare than I had supposed.

The New York Times recently reported that  more than 1,000 girls under 15 seek abortions each year.

An article in The New Republic reported  figures from countries with total or near-total bans on abortion.

In Paraguay, where abortion is banned unless it threatens the mother’s life, health officials forced an 11-year-old girl to carry a pregnancy until she could obtain a cesarean section after she was raped by her stepfather in 2015. An 11-year-old girl in Argentina, which had similarly strict laws until recently, delivered a 23-week-old baby by cesarean section in 2019 after officials there refused to allow her to obtain an abortion. The young Argentine girl reportedly attempted suicide twice and begged doctors to “remove what the old man put inside me.”

It’s unclear exactly how often this phenomenon occurs—and even a single instance of it is heartrending—but available numbers suggest it occurs with some frequency. Amnesty International reported last year that in Paraguay, which ranks between New Jersey and Arizona in population, more than 1,000 girls who were 14 years old or younger gave birth in 2019 and early 2020. An analysis this week by The Columbus Dispatch found 50 reports of rape or sexual abuse toward girls 15 years old or younger in Columbus, Ohio, since May of this year. Using data from the Ohio Department of Health, the newspaper also reported that 306 girls who were 15 years old or younger obtained an abortion in that state between 2016 and 2020.

The article went on to quote the truly horrifying reaction to this particular incident by those who have spearheaded the forced birth movement.

Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer who serves as the general counsel for the National Right to Life organization, told Politico on Thursday that the model legislation he drafted for Indiana would have required the 10-year-old girl to continue the pregnancy. “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp told the news outlet.

It seems like the denialism isn’t really about the 10-year-old girl in question but rather about obfuscating the natural consequences of overturning Roe. By eliminating the constitutional right to reproductive self-government and enacting abortion bans without rape or incest exemptions, anti-abortion activists have implicitly created a new right to take Roe’s place. Rapists can now rest assured that if they impregnate their victim, state and local governments will work tirelessly to ensure that the survivor—even if she is a 10-year-old girl—carries that pregnancy to term.

Welcome to MAGA world.


  1. Christopher; THANK YOU! As I recently tried to educate men, who obviously know nothing about female anatomy except the parts they can make use of, regarding women’s menstrual cycles which cannot be calculated by 28 days on calendar months. The onset of menstrual cycles does NOT have a set beginning age, obviously anywhere in the world, not only the “progressive” United States. Pregnancy exact time frame to the day also cannot be determined in sexually active girls or women; rape and incest victims can sometimes set the exact time due to the date and time of the criminal event.

    The media will fight for further information and sooner or later will reveal the identity of the 10 year old victim in this case; they love to be the first to let the public know how adept they are at getting all facts first. This happened years ago with the kidnap and murder of Adam Walsh, son of John Walsh, when they fought the courts for the autopsy report on 5 year old Adam. Only Adam’s head remained to be found and identified by a family friend. That fact was made known so what could the media possibly gain by seeking or reporting autopsy information? My 11 year old great-nephew was one of the many sexual abuse victims of his uncle, my nephew. A local channel identified him; not by name but that one victim was the abuser’s own nephew. All family and the many friends, neighbors and schoolmates now knew from the media that he had been sexually abused; the case was top news for weeks when it happened here. We can expect the 10 year old rape victim’s identity to be made public at some time; the final rape of the child. There are times when not all aspects of a criminal case should be or needs to be make public.

    Let’s keep the spotlight on Rokita and the rapist in this case; not the victim or the doctor who safely provided needed medical care for the child.

  2. AG Rokita has demonstrated fundamental incompetence to serve as our State Attorney General to the utter embarrassment of our state to the nation and the world.

  3. I hope Dr. Bernard sues Rokita into poverty. These kinds of unfounded attacks by politicians should have consequences. People’s live are ruined. It is time these liars are held accountable.

  4. Office of the Indiana Attorney General
    Indiana Government Center South
    302 W. Washington St., 5th Floor
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
    Phone: (317) 232-6201
    Fax: (317) 232-7979
    Email the Attorney General’s Office

    I sent the same message posted above to AG Rokita’s office.

  5. How dare rokita not apologize for his incorrect statements. Oops, I forgot, he is a member of that heinous political party that never does anything wrong. He is as despicable as his hero!

  6. you mean the maggot world,eh!
    seems the state/maggots age to go full tilt nazi..
    you have no choice.

  7. Several thoughts.

    1. Rokita should be sued for liable.
    2. What about the mental health of the child born from this rape? Another victim.

    Rokita is not my choice for ANY government position. Not even sewer inspector.

  8. We make an assumption that AG Rokita actually knows how to read. He should be held accountable, but he was just circumspect enough to avoid libel. He should be charged with reckless endangerment, since we can be certain that the doctor is getting no end of death threats. I know, dream on.

  9. Rokita is just one of hundreds of Republicans and their deranged minions who are harassing, threatening, lying about and otherwise intimidating because…well, they’re Republicans and Republicans have NO intention of governing for the people. They only care about how much power they can accumulate and fulfilling their agenda pledges to their rich donors. End of story.

    Of course, Rosita is incompetent. It’s all the rich donors are willing to pay for. They mine the trash heaps of our society for these jugheads. Did I mention that Georgia librarians are also being harassed by right-wing ideologues? LIBRARIANS! If that isn’t a sure sign that these ne’er-do-wells want to burn it all down – just for the sake of the flames, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  10. Whether or not Rokita consciously intends it this way, this functions as what DailyKos commenter G2Geek has dubbed “stochastic terrorism”: Vitriolic statements hurled at perceived “liberal” targets via right-wing media which have the likely effect of prompting violent MAGAs to attack that target.

    It’s usually followed, officially or unofficially, by “doxxing” the target to make the job of attacking them or their family easier for any “lone wolf” attacker. It’s been likened to the historical story of King Henry II snarling “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” to several of his ambitious, favor-seeking knights, which of course was followed by said knights riding directly to Canterbury cathedral and hacking the Archbishop to death. No, he didn’t directly, literally tell them to do so… but the outcome was the same as if he had.

    Whether the denunciations are true or false doesn’t matter, since the right wing controls the only channels of communication through which their most likely respondents get information, and the most likely prospective “lone wolves” WANT to believe the worst about their “enemies”, and won’t hear any contradictory information, and won’t listen to it if they do hear it. (“Don’t believe the librul media!”)

    This is a problem. It’s even more of a problem because the Republican Party as a whole seems to have concluded that death threats, riots, and other crimes are Good Things when carried out by its followers for The Party’s benefit.

    No doubt liberals can play the same game. But that’s not the world I want for myself or for any kids or grandkids I might have. We desperately need a return to sanity in which demagogues cannot and do not whip up their deluded followers into acts of politically-motivated violence with criminal OR political impunity.

  11. It’s all about the subjugation of women and minorities. And it’s about complete control by deranged wealthy donors who are willing to get equally deranged white fundamentalist christians (CINOs)to do the dirty work. Hence no gun laws, no civil rights and no reasonable tax codes will be in our future. And it’s also why there is complete gridlock in the federal government. We are headed toward an amalgamation of Gilead and 1984 — the pieces are in play. God help us all.

  12. Republicans are drunk on the possibility of unchecked power, which is completely consistent with the history of the extreme right. They have been brought to this state by power promisers. The magic elixir is propaganda, including the big lie, which tells them that no matter their troubles, erasing the Federal Government and replacing it with 50 tiny independent countries will ease their pain by instead inflicting it on others. Their analysis is this: They want power. They are entitled people. Everyone not them is stupid. The people on Fox are good-looking. What can go wrong?

    Of course, plenty has already gone wrong but the voices in their heads that are virtually connected to the propaganda source tell them, of course, there will be some problems along the way but they will be suffered by “others”. They probably deserved it by not just believing.

  13. I am appalled. This is child abuse. I just wrote to my state rep suggesting that the legislature impeach Rokita.

    There are 6000 unprocessed rape kits in Marion County. I think Rokita has better ways to spend our tax money than aiding and abetting child abuse.

  14. Yes, Felix, it is the journalist’s role to verify this information before publishing. Do you know Julian Assange’s confirmation process after receiving the intriguing cables from whistleblowers?

    Thousands of hours of redacting, journalists scouring the pages, and lawyers reviewing the documents before publication. There is a responsibility that goes with journalism.

    Not so with Fox News or most right-wing conspiracy camps. They launch, then research. They are part of the yellow journalism that plagues our media outlets since they have relinquished their roles in the Fourth Estate.

    By the way, Wikileaks was never found guilty of leaking false evidence. Was their truth damaging to those in powerful positions?


    Wikileaks and Julian Assange are the role models of what Thomas Jefferson demanded in our fourth branch of government to ensure the people serving in government didn’t abuse their power.

    Instead, we have propaganda spreaders – purveyors of lies and disinformation. The democratic republic has already failed.

  15. Welcome to the Articles of Confederation, which our forefathers junked for a constitutional republic in 1789 on grounds that the Articles were unworkable. That system is still unworkable, as Republicans (if successful) will find after a short interval of dictatorship masquerading as “states rights” government (and a re-return to a constitutional republic and a strong federal government under a new Constitution which they will, of course, write and legitimize all of the excesses they favor today).

    As for the topic today, the ten year old would be mother will be ultimately identified in the course of things (including the possibility of a Watergate-type breakin of her Hoosier doctor’s office), so perhaps even with such negatives as causation, qualified immunity and NYT v. Clark as tort-breakers, she and her Hoosier doctor should sue Rokita and see what happens in the world of pretrial motions and, possibly, trial. Defamation? Civil rights? Federal jurisdiction would be preferable under, as I recall, Title 42, Sec. 1981 et seq.

    Perhaps counsel can find better causes of action than tort to bring such suit, and I can assure you that if such a suit is brought I and millions of others would follow its day to day progress. It’s time for Rokita to feel the lash of the law he pretends to follow. – past time! GRRRR!

  16. The Attorney General attacks a doctor for doing her job. Oh wait, she has a uterus so she’s wrong. First off, all abusers hate females. Hate them for being smarter or having an opinion! We can’t have that. Not in the right wing world.

    I’m really sick of Indiana making international news. As soon as this cools, we get a “citizen” that takes out a mass shooter in Greentucky Indiana! Come on, make the news with better outcomes please! I beg you. Otherwise, I come from bum f**k Indiana from the views of the world. Gaaa

  17. I have many questions about the situation of this young girl. The politicians seem to think it’s just a matter of she has the baby. As I recall it’s not that simple. Right away, as soon as pregnancy is confirmed, there’s prenatal care. Are there pediatric ob/gyn doctors? Pediatric doses of prenatal vitamins? What are the dietary recommendations for pregnant tweens? Childbirth classes? Does she decide on a birthing plan? These considerations just get us to delivery. At that point, assuming a live birth, does she take this baby home? Is anyone responsible for the mental health of this little girl who is a victim of a heinous crime, during the pregnancy and after? It is totally outrageous that politicians have decided they are qualified to make medical decisions and even more absurd when they seem to be male politicians. All women and all men who see women as equals must vote, support candidates and relentlessly speak out when politicians behave as monsters.

  18. In the case where an underage female is pregnant by rape, the male shout have his testicles removed. What a Pandora’s box this is. Humans are so screwed up. I am so angry about this and I am astonished I have gone this far with a solution. This is just horrific.
    Rokita is vermin. His process is tactical fearmongering and intentional. I am so sorry for the good and kind people of Indiana

  19. The alt-right is defending Fox and even the Wall Street Journal, among others, who questioned the veracity of this sad story, calling it “too good to be true”, because it came right after Roe was reversed and is a real-life example of the suffering that Dobbs will cause. The WSJ did publish a retraction, but, to my knowledge, others did not, but are defending their questioning of this incident, because it hadn’t been “proven”. My question is: why wasn’t the word of Dr. Bernard enough? She is a respected faculty member of Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is sufficiently respected that her colleague in Ohio referred this poor girl to her for care, even though there are at least 2 sizeable Indiana hospitals that were closer to Columbus, OH and right off of Interstate 70: Reid Medical Center in Richmond, IN, which is right on the border with Ohio, and Fayette Memorial in Connersville. Because it was a 6 week pregnancy, no invasive surgery was needed–the two- medication regiment was sufficient– so it’s not like this was a complicated case that needed the special expertise of a university medical center. Could it be the fact that Dr. Bernard is a woman? I do think misogyny played a role.

    Rokita’s motives were purely political: he was bound and determined to show the “unborn baby saving” Evangelicals that he was going to punish doctors who perform abortions, or, at minimum, intimidate doctors who offer this kind of care by making an example of them, even if he had to lie to do it: he lied about her alleged “history” of failing to report and offered no proof; as it turns out, according to I.U., Dr. Bernard has always complied with the reporting requirements of Indiana law; he called her an “abortion activist” for speaking out against the reversal of Roe; he accused her of failing to report this rape, allowing a pedophilic rapist to run loose on the streets. Fuentes, the accused rapist, was already in custody because the child’s mother reported the rape to social services, which, in turn, reported it to the Columbus Police; nevertheless, Dr. Bernard still reported it in Indiana, which Rokita knew had no personal jurisdiction over Fuentes because he lived in Ohio, and no subject-matter jurisdiction over the rape because it happened in Ohio. Rokita knew, or in the exercise of the most basic of common sense, should have known that performing this abortion was completely legal, that Dr. Bernard did nothing wrong , that she properly reported it, and that the accused rapist was already in custody. However, when it turned out that Fox News once again was caught in a lie, something had to be done (other than admitting it lied, of course). So they trot out Rokita who was grandstanding for free publicity and pandering to an extreme minority of voters because of his higher political ambitions. He promised he would pursue the matter “to the end”. Uh, Toddy, “the end” happened before it ever began because nothing wrong was done. Now, Dr. Bernard has received threats against herself and her family and requires 24-hour security.

    There is a call to report Rokita to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. I join in that call.

  20. Rokita need not worry about his job, in any case. If he looses his current one, (not likely)I’m sure that a move to Florididia
    would get him the same post, if DeathSantis wins in Nov.
    Dr. Bernard ought, indeed, pursue any recourse the law provides, to beat this clown into little teeny bits!
    Can we suggest a law with castration as the penalty for rape…ANY rape?
    I read, years ago, that 1 out of every 3 women in the country, has been a sexual assault victim, or maybe it was
    as rape victim. The statistics that you present, regarding children, Sheila, are mind-bending!
    These GOPIGGIE “Right to life”ers are nothing but misogynist monsters!
    In the larger scheme of things, what we might have here is the patriarchal, hegemonic response to the growing role of
    women in the public culture; no longer willing to be satisfied with the old definition of their “Place” in society….barefoot,
    pregnant and sooo QUIET. It is no surprise, in fact it fits very well with our patriarchal Judeo-Christian culture.

  21. I worked in NW Indiana at a Catholic hospital in 1983. The Catholic hospital decided to open a home for unwed mothers. Our youngest patient was 11 years old and we had many many patients under 15. These were all statutory rape cases as the age of consent is 16 in Indiana. Were charges ever filed in any of these cases- no. These pregnancies were all the results of crimes! So what did the Catholic hospital do? They shut down the clinic rather than deal with the reality of child pregnancies. Personally I think there are many more than 1000 children under 15 who get pregnant. These are the crimes that need to be prosecuted!

  22. Maybe it’s assumed that everyone knows about this, but I never hear commentators raise the question of what pregnancy and childbirth does to the immature body of a 10 year old. Pregnancy and childbirth are difficult enough (sometimes deadly) even for adult bodies. So many young bodies are not large and developed enough for safe pregnancy and natural childbirth.

    First time maternity care involves a considerable learning curve and bodily impacts, even for well-educated, expectant, adult mothers. How does she recognize symptoms for which she should call a doctor? What nutritional, medicinal, and other ingestions can cause harm to the fetus and mother? Additionally, will the mother have sufficient insurance coverage to check in with doctors throughout the pregnancy to detect blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy-related problems, including a body too immature for safe childbirth? Who then pays for the c-section delivery when the mother cannot? Who pays for the neo-natal care of premature babies delivered of mothers too young and small for full-term pregnancies and natural childbirth? Who pays for the formula, diapers, doctor visits, and immunizations of new babies born to uninformed, abused, neglected, incest, and/or raped young women?

    The same folks who oppose abortions oppose sex education for children as young as 9 years old – the age at which the Ohio girl was raped before she came to Indiana. To any pro-lifers reading this commentary, if she was too young for sex education, she was CERTAINLY too young to be raped, impregnated, and a mother.

  23. Karen Starks and Nancy Papas; your comments raise questions which should have been part of the educational system in this country for girls and boys about their own bodies. Edith Bunker’s response to Gloria explaining menopause to her tells it all; “When I was a young girl, I didn’t know everything every young girl should know. Now I’m an old lady and don’t know everything every old lady should know.” Parents rebel against “sex education”, a misnomer because it doesn’t teach our children HOW to have sex, in our schools when they don’t have the knowledge themselves. Proper education about our bodies would help us identify problems as well as to understand and accept what is normal happening with our bodies. The public education money pouring into private – primarily religious – schools via the voucher system could provide the teaching staff and materials for classes in middle school when the knowledge is usually needed as changes begin happening to our bodies.

  24. I hope we can all agree that we should be electing ANYONE but Republicans for the next several cycles. They have 0 ideas on how to make things better and 0 humility, compassion, or integrity. If they aren’t actively participating in the attempt to ruin our country, neither are they fighting it or even calling it out.

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