A man has been jailed for life for raping a nine-year-old – who then had to travel to another US state for an abortion.

Gerson Fuentes admitted attacking the girl in Columbus, Ohio.

The 28-year-old, the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother at the time, impregnated the girl.

She then had to travel from Ohio to the neighbouring state of Indiana to terminate the pregnancy, according to her physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard.

The girl was 10 years old at the time of the termination.

She had to make the journey to Indiana after Ohio banned abortions at the first detectable “foetal heartbeat” in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling.

Gerson Fuentes poses for a booking photograph at the Franklin County Corrections Center in Columbus, Ohio, U.S. July 13, 2022. Franklin County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY.
Image:
Gerson Fuentes

Since then, 25 states have banned the procedure, including Indiana – which currently has exceptions for rape and incest – though many laws are still being formally approved.

On Wednesday, at Franklin County Municipal Court, Fuentes pleaded guilty to two counts of rape.

He previously confessed to Columbus police detectives that he had attacked the girl. DNA testing of the foetus also confirmed Fuentes was the father.

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Prosecutors confirmed in court on Wednesday that the child in the case did test positive on a pregnancy test and sought out an abortion.

As part of a plea deal, Fuentes will be eligible to seek probation after serving 25 to 30 years.

Fuentes, who is from Guatemala, will likely be deported if he eventually wins parole.

Read more:
US Supreme Court preserves access to abortion pill
The reality of life under the new US abortion laws

Indiana’s state medical licensing board voted in May to reprimand Dr Bernard after finding that she violated patient privacy laws when she told a newspaper reporter about the case last summer.

She did not directly release protected information such as the girl’s name or address.

The board rejected a request to suspend her medical licence and instead chose to fine Bernard $3,000 (£2,362.51).

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