It’s called “The Human Rights Protection Act,” but in the case of an 11-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated, it seems to be anything but.
According to police, Juan Leon-Gomez, 26, of Massillon, Ohio was arrested early Wednesday after the girl’s mother reported her missing. His roommate allowed police to search their home, and when they did they found the girl upstairs in a bedroom closet, The Buckeye State News reports.
Along with charges of the alleged rape, he faces charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child, police say, adding that he was already the subject of an ongoing sexual assault investigation involving the girl.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed a hold on Leon-Gomez, said a magistrate who set his bail at $1 million. Because of the hold, he will be remanded to the agency’s custody if he posts bail.
But what makes this case even worse is the fact that the girl, who isn’t even a teenager yet, will very likely have to carry the baby to term, Metro reports.
But under the restrictions of the so-called “heartbeat bill,” abortions may not be performed after six weeks or when a fetus’ heartbeat can be heard. The law was intended to ‘protect the most vulnerable,’ but rape victims are excluded.
Ohio is the sixth state to adopt this draconian law, NPR reports. It was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine (R) in April and is likely to take effect within the next two months unless it is blocked by a federal judge. This bill, SB 23 makes abortion illegal after the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy — a time when most women don’t even realize they are pregnant.
SB 23 does contain one exception to save a woman’s life but there are no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
“The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don’t have a voice,” DeWine said during the signing. “Government’s role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end.”
In Kentucky and Iowa federal judges have blocked these laws or struck them down as unconstitutional. Hopefully, that will happen here as well, because there’s going to be a legal battle at any rate. The ACLU of Ohio has already made its intentions clear. The organization already says it plans to sue to stop the law which “virtually bans all abortion care.”
“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson, legal director of ACLU Ohio, in a statement.
Leon-Gomez potentially faces life in prison with a chance of parole in 10 years and a $20,000 fine.
Featured image by The Buckeye State News and the Stark County Jail