Indiana AG Insists on Punishing Doctor Who Gave Abortion to 10-Year-Old Rape Victim

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, Taylor Hill/WireImage (Getty Images)
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, Taylor Hill/WireImage (Getty Images)  

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita apparently will not stop until he's punished Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel from Ohio to end her pregnancy.

In his latest salvo, Rokita's office filed a complaint asking the Indiana medical licensing board to discipline Bernard, saying she violated the law by telling a reporter that she would be treating the child in Indiana, given Ohio's abortion ban that took effect right after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The complaint also alleges that Bernard did not properly report the abuse to state authorities. Notably, Rokita isn't claiming she violated the law by providing the child an abortion; he's just trying to punish her in any other way possible. The reasoning behind Rokita's incessant work against Bernard is clear: She publicly discussed a case in which abortion was obviously, inarguably a net good and necessary to protect the girl's life.

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Bernard's attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, called the move a "last-ditch effort to intimidate Dr. Bernard and other providers of abortion care." She went on: "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."

Last week, Bernard had to testify at a hearing over whether or not Rokita can access the 10-year-old's medical records. He's seeking the documents as part of a consumer complaint investigation into Bernard-which stems from people who are not her patients. "The consumer complaints were 100% filed by people who had never met Dr. Bernard, had never gotten medical care from Dr. Bernard, were not involved in the care of this patient in any way shape or form," Delaney told reporters last week. "They're complaining about something that they saw on television or heard about on social media."

At the hearing, Bernard maintained that she simply publicly stated the facts of the case, and revealed nothing else about the patient. "I did say that the patient had been raped. That is how a 10-year-old becomes pregnant," she testified.

Now that Roe is a thing of the past, anti-abortion politicians are emboldened, and Rokita's complaint to the licensing board-which determines if a doctor is legally allowed to practice in the state-is a new tactic in campaigns against abortion providers.

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