Indiana’s attorney general on Wednesday asked the state’s medical board to discipline an Indiana doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio and then publicized it.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, accused Dr. Caitlin Bernard of “violating a patient’s privacy rights” and failing to adhere to her obligation to immediately report child abuse to Indiana authorities.
Rokita has been investigating whether Dr. Bernard followed state law requiring doctors to report abortions resulting from abuse. Though public records showed Dr. Bernard promptly reported the abortion as required, whether or not she filed an abuse report in a timely manner in unclear.
Rokita’s office asked the state’s medical licensing board to determine the appropriate penalty for Dr. Bernard, ranging from a letter of reprimand to permanent revocation of her medical license.
Kathleen DeLaney, Dr. Bernard’s lawyer, said in a statement on Wednesday that her client had complied with all reporting requirements and had discussed the girl’s case “within the bounds of applicable privacy laws.”
“The Administrative Action filed today by Mr. Rokita is clearly a last-ditch effort to intimidate Dr. Bernard and other providers of abortion care,” DeLaney said.
The doctor has said the child was referred to her for an abortion just three days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that had guaranteed federal abortion rights.
Ohio was among the states that quickly enforced strict limits on abortion in the wake of the June ruling, sometimes without exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The attorney general is not questioning whether the girl met the Indiana statutory requirement that she be no more than 22 months pregnant. When Dr. Bernard learned of the situation, the girl was three days past the six-week limit in Ohio.
News of the 10-year-old’s case launched a bitter legal battle between Dr. Bernard and Rokita.
Dr. Bernard and her medical partner sued Rokita earlier this month, demanding an end to investigations seeking medical records about patients and their abortions. The lawsuit accused Rokita’s investigation of being a “sham” and said it violated requirements that investigations be based on merit, narrowly focused, and kept confidential.
As reported by FISM News, the case was used over the summer by many Democratic politicians, including President Joe Biden, as an example of why abortion should be easily accessible by all. However, those same politicians remained silent on the reports that the girl was raped and impregnated by an illegal immigrant.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edits by Jacob Fuller, FISM News.