An Indiana doctor who said she performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim in June is awaiting a judge’s decision on whether the attorney general can access patients’ medical records and investigate abortion providers.
An earlier this month from Dr. Caitlin Bernard and her colleague Dr. The lawsuit filed by Amy Caldwell accuses Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita of violating patient and physician confidentiality and alleges that he is targeting physicians who provide legal medical care, including abortions, according to court records.
The two doctors sought an injunction against Rokita and Scott Barnhart, director of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, asking a judge to bar them from investigating “invalid consumer complaints.” [physicians and their patients] and breach of statutory confidentiality obligations,” according to court documents.
They are asking the court to stop “sham investigations” based on “false” consumer complaints and prevent the attorney general’s office from serving subpoenas requesting the entire medical records of patients who received abortion treatment, according to Kathleen DeLaney. an attorney for Bernard and Caldwell.
Marion Superior Court Judge Heather Welch is expected to rule on the request for a restraining order this week.
The plaintiffs allege that without judicial intervention, Rokita “will continue to unlawfully harass physicians and patients who engage in entirely lawful conduct,” the lawsuit states.
In June, Bernard publicly announced that she had aborted a 10-year-old rape victim who had traveled from Ohio to Indiana for care.
Back then, six-week abortions were banned in Ohio.
A restrictive Ohio law banning nearly all abortions has since been stayed by a judge as a legal challenge continues. An Ohio man has been accused of raping and impregnating the 10-year-old girl, who police say then traveled out of the state to receive abortion treatment.
Rokita later appeared on Fox News and accused Bernard of improperly reporting an abortion and revealed that his office was investigating her.
“We believe that she failed to meet her burden of proof and that the attorney general’s office should be free to continue with its statutory duty to hold physicians and other practitioners up to the legal standards,” a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said in a statement to ABC News on Wednesday.
The office also blamed Bernard for telling a newspaper about the abortion case, claiming it was “to advance their own political agenda”.
“There is no justifiable reason for this doctor to shake the confidence of her 10-year-old patient by revealing her abortion procedure to a reporter so that her traumatizing experience could be used in the polarizing abortion debate on Dobbs’ heels,” a spokesman said said the Attorney General’s Office.
The spokesperson added, “The evidence strongly suggests that the doctor violated the Reporting Act, which required her to promptly report the child’s abuse to Indiana authorities to avoid being returned to her abuser.”
Abortion rights in Indiana are at stake. The state became the first in the country to enact an abortion ban after the US Supreme Court issued a decision in June, Roe v. Wade and end federal protections for abortion rights.
However, abortions have resumed in the state after a judge granted a request for a temporary stay of enforcement of the ban while a legal challenge continues in court. Abortion providers who have filed the legal challenge claim the ban violates the Indiana Constitution.
The ban makes performing an abortion a Level 5 felony, allowing only three exceptions when a woman’s life is in danger, the fetus is diagnosed with a fatal abnormality, or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. The near-total ban had replaced a previous 22-week abortion ban.