11-year-old Ohio girl pregnant with rapist's baby may be forced to bear child because of 'fetal heartbeat' law
The Human Rights Protection Act signed into law in April enforces a ban on abortion as soon as a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity but has no concessions for pregnancies resulting from rape
An 11-year-old girl from northwestern Ohio who was repeatedly raped is now pregnant with her rapist's baby. The state's Human Rights Protection Act which was signed into law last month means she must now carry and deliver that child.
26-year-old Juan Leon-Gomez was taken into custody on Wednesday, May 1, after police found the 11-year-old girl hidden inside his bedroom closet when they raided his Massillon home after the victim's mother reported her missing, according to the Daily Mail.
Leon-Gomez, who was already under investigation for sexual assault in an ongoing case involving the young girl, was charged with rape, as well as misdemeanors contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child and obstructing official business.
It was announced shortly after his arrest that the victim was pregnant.
Now, the highly-restrictive and controversial abortion law signed on April 11 by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine prevents her from terminating the pregnancy unless it's to save her life or spare her grave bodily harm. The law has no concessions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
The Human Rights Protection Act is one of the "fetal heartbeat" laws that enforces a ban on abortion as soon as a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity. While that may seem reasonable to some, fetal heartbeats start at about six weeks of gestation, which, in some cases, is even before the woman knows they're pregnant.
The bill had passed both the Upper and Lower House in the state twice, in 2016 and 2018, only to see it vetoed by the executive branch.
After it successfully passed this year, its author's claimed it was designed to "protect the most vulnerable".
While signing it into law, DeWine similarly said, "The government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to end."
Ohio isn't alone in passing such a law either. Five other states, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, and North Dakota, have also passed fetal heartbeat laws.
However, in Iowa, Kentucky, and North Dakota, it has been struck down by a state judge, temporarily blocked by a federal court, and struck down by federal court respectively.
The law in Ohio may face a similar fate. It is only set to come into effect on July 1, and it's expected that a federal judge will strike it down after seeing it as a violation of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs Wade which recognized a woman's right to abortion in most circumstances.
Come what may, this one-month window also gives the 11-year-old victim to seek out a still completely legal abortion in the state if she wants to terminate the pregnancy.
As for Leon-Gomez, he made his first appearance in court on May 3 and faces life in prison as well as a $20,000 fine if convicted of his charges. His bond has been set at $1 million.