Health Care

Indiana AG files medical complaint against doctor who performed abortion on 10 year old

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a reproductive health care provider, speaks during an abortion rights rally on June 25, 2022, at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. (Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) on Wednesday said he filed a complaint with the state’s medical licensing board, asking it to investigate an Indianapolis doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.

The complaint alleges Caitlin Bernard violated federal and Indiana law related to patient privacy and the reporting of child abuse by sharing the girl’s story with the press “to further her political agenda.”

Rokita said Bernard also failed to immediately report to state authorities the abuse and rape that led to the girl’s pregnancy.

“Dr. Bernard violated the law, her patient’s trust, and the standards for the medical profession when she disclosed her patient’s abuse, medical issues, and medical treatment to a reporter at an abortion rights rally to further her political agenda,” Rokita’s office said in a statement. 

Rokita’s office did not say what kind of penalty it was seeking, saying “it is up to the Medical Licensing Board to determine whether there are consequences.”

Bernard said she performed the abortion in June, days after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The girl traveled from Ohio and was referred to Bernard because abortions were illegal under Ohio’s newly enacted trigger law.

When Bernard’s actions gained national attention, some news outlets and Republican politicians — including Ohio’s attorney general — falsely suggested Bernard had fabricated the story and that the girl did not exist. 

Once the story was confirmed, Rokita publicly said on platforms such as Fox News that he intended to investigate whether Bernard had filed the proper notices for abortions under Indiana state law.

Shortly after Rokita made his public remarks about Bernard, her employer, Indiana University Health, released a statement saying it had found no evidence Bernard failed to comply with privacy laws.

Records obtained by various media outlets showed that Bernard filed an appropriate report with the Indiana Department of Health within the required three-day window.

Bernard is suing Rokita to stop his office from accessing confidential medical records it requested as part of an investigation into her medical practice.

In a statement, Bernard’s attorney called the complaint “a last-ditch effort to intimidate Dr. Bernard and other providers of abortion care.”

“Though I am disappointed he has put my client in this position, we are not surprised given Mr. Rokita’s consistent efforts to use his office to seek to punish those with whom he disagrees at the expense of Indiana taxpayers,” said Kathleen DeLaney of DeLaney & DeLaney LLC.

Tags abortion Roe v. Wade Todd Rokita

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