A man in the US state of Ohio has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl who had to cross state lines for an abortion after her home state restricted the procedure.
Gershon Fuentes, 27, appeared in court in Columbus on Wednesday.
The unnamed girl’s shocking case has drawn international attention.
US President Joe Biden cited it at the White House as he slammed abortion restrictions, but sceptics had questioned if it was a hoax.
ADVISORY: This story contains details some readers may find upsetting.
Millions of women and girls lost a longstanding constitutional right to abortion after a US Supreme Court decision in June.
In a speech last Friday criticising that ruling, President Biden raised a report of the child’s case, angrily saying: “Imagine being that little girl!”
Hours after the Supreme Court decision, legislators in Ohio outlawed abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
The child was six weeks and three days pregnant, according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper.
Referred by a child abuse doctor in Ohio, the girl visited a clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, to undergo a medical abortion on 30 June.
Although efforts are underway to restrict abortion rights in Ohio’s neighbouring state, the procedure still remains legal there.
The case exemplifies nationwide confusion over the patchwork of state laws that have emerged in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, many of which make few exceptions.
- How the US Supreme Court is reshaping America
- After Roe, anti-abortion activists eye new target
- Texas woman argues unborn baby counts as passenger
According to prosecutors, the child may have been nine years old when she was attacked.
She told police she was pregnant because of Fuentes, reports the IndyStar.
Fuentes is a Guatemalan national and is in the US illegally, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement source told Fox News.
Police say the accused, who was arrested on Tuesday at a flat in Columbus, admitted raping the girl, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
A saliva sample from him was being checked against DNA from the abortion clinic in Indianapolis, according to local media.
Citing the risk that Fuentes could flee or further endanger the child, Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Cynthia Ebner set his bail bond at $2m (£1.7m).
He faces life in prison if convicted.