Rokita targets Indiana abortion doctor

Records show the doctor who performed the procedure followed state law

By: - July 14, 2022 9:44 am

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who was at the center of controversy last summer over a 10-year rape victim from Ohio. (Photos from Attorney General’s Office and IU Health.)

Newly-released documents reveal a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim received an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30.

The doctor who performed the procedure appears to have notified state officials within Indiana’s statutory timeframe, according to records obtained by the Indiana Capital Chronicle.

Attorney General Todd Rokita on Thursday asked Gov. Eric Holcomb to have state agencies respond quickly to a request for records pertaining to the procedure after the case made national headlines. The Republican attorney general said he was investigating Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s licensure, alleging that she may not have properly reported the abortion to Indiana officials.

(Record obtained by the Indiana Capital Chronicle from the Indiana Department of Health)

(Record obtained by the Indiana Capital Chronicle from the Indiana Department of Health)

Bernard filed a pregnancy termination report with the state on July 2, records show. Bernard wrote in the report that she administered mifepristone and misoprostol, also known as the “abortion pill.” The reason listed for the abortion was “abuse” sustained by the minor girl.

State law requires doctors performing an abortion on anyone younger than 16 to file a report with the Indiana Department of Health and Indiana Department of Child Services within three days.

Rokita said in a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb Thursday afternoon that he was awaiting responses from both agencies. The Indiana Capital Chronicle obtained the report from the Indiana Department of Health late Thursday.

“As the attorney for the state of Indiana, my office needs these documents and proofs in order to execute the requisite legal protections for the people of Indiana, and perhaps more importantly, to ensure the public’s confidence in your agencies regarding this horrible matter,” the letter to Holcomb said.

Rokita did not immediately comment on the pregnancy termination report late Thursday.

Rokita told FoxNews commentator Jesse Watters Wednesday night his office is investigating the Indiana abortion doctor who brought the case to light nationally. But he provided no details during the appearance.

“And then we have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report. So we’re gathering the information,” Rokita said on air. “We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure. If she failed to report it in Indiana, it’s a crime for – to not report, to intentionally not report.”

Bernard was first quoted by the Indianapolis Star about being contacted by a doctor in Ohio when the child couldn’t get an abortion there because she was just past the state’s six-week ban. After Republicans questioned the veracity of the claim in recent days, the alleged perpetrator was charged with rape and arraigned Wednesday in Columbus.

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Police in the case said the girl’s mother contacted authorities June 22 and the abortion was performed in Indianapolis June 30.

Failure to file the proper paperwork is a misdemeanor, and Rokita said it could impact Bernard’s medical license.

Indiana Right to Life in 2018 accused eight abortion doctors of not filing the appropriate documents for young girls receiving abortions — including Bernard. Indiana’s online license search shows no discipline for Bernard.

The Indiana General Assembly is set to return July 25 for a special session on abortion and tax refunds.

The Indiana Democratic Party released a statement that said “Attorney General Todd Rokita is looking to sue a doctor for saving a young girl’s life. The Indiana Republican Party believes rape survivors — including minors — should be forced to give birth to their rapist’s baby. Their agenda is dangerous and too extreme for Indiana.”

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Casey Smith
Casey Smith

A lifelong Hoosier, Casey Smith previously reported on the Indiana Legislature for The Associated Press. Smith has had internships and fellowships at the Investigative Program in Berkeley, California, The Indianapolis Star, the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post, National Geographic, USA Today and other publications. Internationally, she has reported on water quality across South America. She holds a master’s degree in investigative reporting and narrative science writing from the University of California/Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She previously earned degrees in journalism, anthropology and Spanish from Ball State University, where she now serves as an instructor of journalism.

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