Doctor faces disciplinary hearing for abortion of 10-year-old girl in Ohio

An Indiana board will hear testimony Thursday that an Indianapolis doctor should face disciplinary action after speaking out publicly about performing an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from neighboring Ohio.

The Medical Licensing Board hearing comes after Indiana’s Republican attorney general charged Dr. Caitlin Bernard with violating state law by failing to report the child abuse of the girl to Indiana authorities. She is also accused of violating federal patient privacy laws by telling a reporter about the girl’s treatment.

Bernard and his attorneys maintain that the doctor followed Indiana’s child abuse reporting requirements, as Ohio authorities were already investigating the girl’s rape. Bernard’s lawyers also say she did not release any information. of identification on the girl that would violate privacy laws.

The Indianapolis Star cited the girl’s case in a July 1 article that sparked a national political uproar weeks after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June, enforcing an Ohio law that prohibited abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Some Republican politicians and media outlets falsely suggested that Bernard made up the story, until a 27-year-old man was accused of rape in Columbus, Ohio.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s complaint called for the licensing board to impose “appropriate disciplinary action” but did not specify the sanction requested.

Indiana’s board, made up of six doctors and a lawyer appointed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, could vote on whether to impose any sanctions Thursday after hearing what is expected to be several hours of testimony. State law gives the board wide latitude, allowing it to issue warning letters or suspend, revoke, or place a medical license on probation.

Amid the wave of attention on the girl’s case last summer, Rokita, who is stridently anti-abortion, told Fox News that he would investigate Bernard’s actions, calling her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”

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“This case is about two things, and two things only: the privacy of the patient and the failure of this doctor to protect this child,” he said in a statement this week.

The Ohio law imposing a near ban on abortion was in effect for about two months before being suspended while a lawsuit against him is developed.

Bernard tried unsuccessfully to block Rokita’s investigation last fall, though an Indianapolis judge wrote that Rokita committed “clearly unlawful violations” of state confidentiality laws with its public comments about investigating the doctor before filing the medical leave complaint. against him.

Bernard’s attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, called the complaint against the doctor “unfounded attacks” made at taxpayer expense.

“Rokita’s actions set a dangerous precedent that jeopardizes the provision of legal patient care,” DeLaney said.

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