Doctor faces disciplinary hearing over 10-year-old’s abortion
An Indiana doctor who provided abortion drugs to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio could face disciplinary action for speaking publicly about the case nearly a year ago.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist based in Indianapolis, is set to testify before the state’s Medical Licensing Board on Thursday, to defend aggainst accusations from the state’s attorney general.
Bernard first made national headlines in the summer of 2022 after the Indianapolis Star wrote about her young patient — who was just over six weeks pregnant at the time — on July 1.
The story, published days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, led Attorney General Todd Rokita to accuse Bernard of violating state laws by not properly reporting the girl’s abuse to state authorities.
She was also accused of violating patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper about the case.
Shortly after the Indiana Star story came out, Rokita went on local television and threatened to revoke Bernard’s medical license. He accused her of breaking the law, but failed to present any evidence, according to the NPR station in Fort Wayne, Ind., WBOI.
In November Rokita filed a complaint with the state’s medical board to impose “appropriate disciplinary action” on Bernard.
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He alleged the doctor failed to immediately contact Indiana authorities about the incident, as required by state law.
Bernard maintains she followed the state’s requirements, as the rape was being investigated by authorities in neighboring Ohio. Her lawyers also say Bernard didn’t release any identifying information that could potentially break privacy laws.
On Thursday, the Indiana board could vote whether to impose disciplinary action.
Rokita, who has expressed support for a near-total ban on abortion, said in a statement this week he wants the board to address what he calls a “violation of an innocent 10-year-old girls’ rights.”
“This case is about two things — and two things only — patient privacy and this doctor’s failure to protect this child,” he added.
Last July, Rokita referred to Bernarnd as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”
With News Wire Services