A doctor in Indiana is facing disciplinary action by the state’s Medical Licensing Board for disclosing information about a 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion, citing a violation of privacy laws. The doctor, Caitlin Bernard, had spoken to the Indianapolis Star about the case, which involved a young girl who had traveled from Ohio to Indiana for the procedure after being denied an abortion in her home state following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Initially, there were doubts about the veracity of the story, but a suspect eventually confessed to the rape.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita had promised to investigate Bernard’s actions last year. His team argued that the doctor not only breached patient privacy laws but also failed to report child abuse to Indiana authorities. However, the board rejected Rokita’s claim that Bernard had neglected her duty to report child abuse, stating that the rape was already under investigation in Ohio.
During a hearing before the board, Bernard explained her motivation for sharing the 10-year-old girl’s story, emphasizing the need for people to comprehend the real-life consequences of abortion laws in the country. She believed it was essential for individuals to be aware of the challenges patients face due to legislation being passed, emphasizing that hypothetical scenarios do not capture the true impact.
Attorney General Rokita commended the board’s decision, expressing satisfaction that the truth had been brought to light. He highlighted Bernard’s liability for violating patient privacy laws on three separate counts. Rokita asserted that the case centered around patient privacy and the trust that was breached between the doctor and the patient. He posed a thought-provoking question, urging individuals to consider how they would feel if their own family members were going through a sensitive medical crisis and their doctor, whom they believed was on their side, sought publicity for political reasons. Rokita emphasized that such actions were unjust, and the facts presented during the hearing supported this conclusion.