On Thursday morning, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial acknowledging the accuracy of the recent viral story about a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana to get an abortion after questioning the legitimacy of the story earlier this week. “There’s no evidence the girl exists,” Tuesday’s editorial read.
But on Wednesday, the Columbus police arrested 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes for the sexual assault, and he has since been charged with rape in the first degree.
After popping up on social media, the case garnered national attention last week when President Biden cited the story as he signed an executive order on abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden said the victim was forced to travel to Indiana from Ohio since her home state now prohibited abortion when a fetal heartbeat is present.
In Tuesday’s editorial, the outlet described the situation as a “fanciful tale” receiving a “hearing at the White House.”
This set off a media firestorm of criticism of conservative media – and, as it happens, the Washington Post who did a “fact check” column on the reporting – for smearing a child who was undergoing trauma and casting doubt without evidence. In fact, the original source for the report was the doctor who treated the girl, and who was on record.
“The country needs to find a rough consensus on abortion now that it has returned to the states and the political process,” Thursday’s editorial reads. “One way to help is to make sure that stories about abortion, from either side of the debate, can be readily confirmed. Passions are already heated enough.”