The doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio this summer is suing Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R).
A lawsuit filed on Thursday on behalf of Indiana OB-GYN Caitlin Bernard. her medical partner, Dr. Amy Caldwell, and their patients, alleges that Rokita issued subpoenas for medical records based on complaints from people who were not their patients and had no “personal knowledge of the alleged circumstances giving rise to the complaints.”
In some cases, these people were not even from the state and just filed a complaint after reading media reports about the story.
Indiana law requires that Rokita first investigate complaints filed against physicians and other licensed professionals to see if they have “merit.”
Bernard’s lawsuit says Rokita “ignored” that requirement and issued multiple subpoenas for confidential medical records as part of the investigations, despite possessing information that proves these complaints were false.
“The Attorney General has wholly ignored the General Assembly’s fine-tuned structure for handling consumer complaints regarding licensed professionals and has engaged in precisely the type of overbearing, harassing conduct that the General Assembly sought to prohibit,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit seeks to stop Rokita from using the complaints to issue subpoenas “without first making a valid and proper determination that the consumer complaint has merit,” and to prevent Rokita from “violating confidentiality provisions imposed by law.”
Rokita’s press secretary, Kelly Stevenson, said Thursday his office investigates thousands of potential licensing and privacy violations annually under statutory requirements, according to the Hill.
“A majority of the complaints we receive are, in fact, from nonpatients. Any investigations that arise as a result of potential violations are handled in a uniform manner and narrowly focused,” she added.
In July, Bernard told the Indianapolis Star about a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who was forced to cross state lines to obtain an abortion.
The case drew nationwide attention since it came in the weeks after the United States Supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade and several states, including Ohio, trigger ban went into effect.
After the news broke, Rokita went on Fox News to announce he would investigate Bernard for possible criminal prosecution, calling her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report.”
The case was cited by President Joe Biden and several prominent Republicans, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, claimed that Bernard fabricated the story.
A 27-year-old man was later arrested after he confessed to raping the girl at least twice.