Indiana AG Seeks to Punish Child Rape Victim's Abortion Doctor

Todd Rokita's office says Dr. Caitlin Bernard should have reported Ohio girl's case to authorities
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 1, 2022 9:40 AM CST
Indiana AG Seeks to Punish Child Rape Victim's Abortion Doctor
Dr. Caitlin Bernard speaks during an abortion rights rally on June 25, 2022, at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.   (Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via AP, File)

Indiana's Republican attorney general on Wednesday asked the state medical licensing board to discipline an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect. The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl's child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl's treatment, the AP reports. Bernard and her lawyers maintain the girl's abuse had already been reported to Ohio police and child protective services officials before the doctor ever saw the child. A 27-year-old man has been charged in Columbus, Ohio, with raping the girl.

Bernard's lawyers argue that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is stridently anti-abortion, has been spreading false or misleading information about the doctor with his investigation allegations for several months. The attorney general's complaint asked the licensing board to impose "appropriate disciplinary action" but doesn't specify a requested penalty. State licensing boards ensure physicians have the appropriate training and education to practice in the state and can suspend, revoke, or place on probation a doctor's license. "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.

"Simply concealing the patient's name falls far short of her legal and ethical duties here," Rokita's office said. The attorney general's office filed the action as an Indianapolis judge considers whether to block the attorney general's office from trying to obtain patient medical records for its investigation. The judge's ruling is expected later this week. Kathleen DeLaney, a lawyer for Bernard, pointed to testimony from that investigation, including from Bernard, who on Nov. 21 testified that both child abuse authorities and law enforcement in Ohio were involved in the case before the child came to Indiana for treatment. Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Katharine Melnick also testified that day and said child abuse would be reported by hospital social workers, not doctors, and such reports would be referred to law enforcement where the crime occurred.

(More abortion stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.