Todd Rokita, Caitlin Bernard fighting restraining orders

The Indiana Attorney General is not backing down from his investigation into a doctor who aborted a 10-year-old Ohio girl.

DR Caitlin Bernard and her medical partner Amy CaldwellMD, Sued Attorney General death Rokita (R) Earlier this month claimed his investigation into her medical practice was based on “nonsensical” consumer complaints against the doctors. As part of that lawsuit, Bernard’s attorneys filed a request for an emergency restraining order, asking Supreme Court Justice Marion Heather Walch Prohibit the Attorney General from issuing subpoenas to further the investigation.

The full lawsuit aims to prevent Rokita from using frivolous consumer complaints as a basis for issuing subpoenas to search for confidential and sensitive medical records and continuing its investigations into physicians.

Judge Welch held a hearing on that motion Monday. On Tuesday, both camps issued strongly worded statements, with Rokita insisting Bernard had broken Indiana law and Bernard insisting the AG’s investigation was nothing more than political maneuvering and a cover for invasion of privacy patients.

“If the doctor hadn’t chosen to use her patient, a 10-year-old rape victim, to advance her own political agenda, we wouldn’t be here today,” Rokita’s office said, according to a statement by the attorney in court filings, according to the general’s office.

Rokita, who announced on Fox News that his office is investigating Bernard for performing the abortion, criticized the doctor for sharing the child rape victim’s story with a reporter for the Indianapolis Star. The child could not have an abortion following a Supreme Court ruling in his home state of Ohio Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“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 that followed Dobbs‘ Rokita said in the statement.

In which Indianapolis Star Story, Bernard provided the outline of the case — that a 10-year-old abuse victim couldn’t get an abortion in her home state, so she came to neighboring Indiana — but didn’t share the child’s name, race, or home district. Legal experts have told Law&Crime that disclosure of this information alone is not sufficient to trigger a potential violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as it would not result in patient identification.

Rokita said evidence “strongly suggests that the doctor violated the Reporting Act, which required her to promptly report the child’s abuse to Indiana authorities.”

“Only by promptly reporting to Indiana authorities, as required by law, could the little girl possibly have been saved from being returned to her abuser,” the statement continued.

Hoosier state law requiring abortions to be reported to the government, Indiana Code § 16-34-2, does not appear to contain the word “immediately” or “immediately” in the relevant context. The only use of this word in the corresponding statute mandates that an abortion doctor “provide immediate care for a child born alive as a result of the abortion,” and states that a child who survives an abortion “becomes a department of the child care department immediately after birth,” if the parents of the child state that they want to relinquish custody.

Indeed Indiana Code § 16-34-2-5 gives a different time frame than the one given by Rokita:

The healthcare provider must complete the form provided in subsection (a) and submit the completed form to the Department of State within thirty (30) days of the date of each abortion in the manner specified on the form. However, if an abortion is scheduled for a woman under the age of sixteen (16), the health care provider will submit the form to the state Department of Health within three (3) days and separately to the Youth Welfare Office and the abortion will be performed.

It’s unclear why Rokita said Bernard must report the procedure “immediately” when the law appears to provide a three-day window.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, the patient’s assault allegedly occurred on May 12, and a police report on the rape was filed in Ohio on June 22, 2022. Bernard performed the abortion on June 30th.

Rokita’s office did not immediately respond to an email request from Law&Crime for additional information about what steps the state could have taken to protect the girl from her alleged attacker, who was arrested and charged in Ohio. An Indiana University investigation found that Bernard appeared to have complied with the law and local media reports showed that Bernard had reported the relevant procedure on July 2—two days after the abortion and within the three-day window required by Indiana Code §16-34-2-5.

Rokita’s office referred Law&Crime to Section 16-34-2-5 for a previous report on the case.

In a statement released Tuesday after Monday’s emergency hearing, Bernard’s lawyers said the doctor had testified that she had complied with all reporting and privacy laws related to the case and that she was fully committed to law enforcement’s investigation have cooperated.

“The Attorney General’s Office has presented no evidence to suggest that Dr. Bernard failed to comply with reporting laws,” Bernard’s attorney Kathleen Delaney said in a statement Tuesday.

DeLaney added that Bernard’s testimony “confirms that she fully complied with those laws and assisted in law enforcement investigations that led to the arrest of the alleged perpetrator.”

“Evidence also showed that to date, the Attorney General’s office is investigating multiple invalid complaints against my client, despite evidence showing that she complied with her duty,” DeLaney added.

Bernard said that despite Rokita’s allegations that the doctor violated her patient’s privacy, she actually fights to protect the privacy of all patients in Indiana.

“As a doctor, I never thought I would have to fight a lawsuit to protect the right of women and girls not to have their private medical records released for political purposes,” Bernard said in the statement. “But nonetheless, I firmly believe that this fight — the fight for physicians to compassionately provide abortion treatment to every single person who needs their care and to fight for their patients’ access to safe, legal abortion treatment free from fear of criminalization.” – is worth betting. And this is not just about abortion care, but about all private medical care, which should never be interfered with in the name of politics.”

Judge Welch is expected to make a decision on the injunction request next week, DeLaney said.

Last summer, Dr. Bernard attacked after that Indianapolis Star reported providing medical and reproductive care to a 10-year-old child abuse victim days after the landmark Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. calf. Since then, Rokita has been accused of making misleading statements about the facts of the case to local and national news sources, even after public records confirmed that Dr. Bernard appears to have complied with all applicable reporting laws. Through this lawsuit, Dr. Bernard and Dr. Caldwell along with her patients to stop Rokita from violating patient and doctor confidentiality and prevent future uncontrolled overruns by the Attorney General.

[Image via Fox News screengrab.]

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