Commentary

Rokita’s kangaroo court follows his disgraceful directions

May 30, 2023 7:00 am

Columnist says Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita had it out for Dr. Caitlin Bernard and Medical Licensing Board bailed him out. (Photo from Attorney General's Office.)

Let’s get straight to the point. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is a disgraceful public servant. The seven-member Indiana Medical Licensing Board is disgraceful too. There. Now that we have established those two sad truths, let me share with you the receipts.

Rokita used the administrative board last week as a tool to retroactively cover for his thoughtless, inaccurate and slanderous rant given on Fox News on July 13, 2022. I have no problem with Americans who simply oppose abortion. However, I have become exhausted with those who use their governmental authority for retribution against people who don’t.

The saga came to an apparent conclusion at the board’s marathon hearing on May 25th. I watched and listened to most of the 14-hour proceeding primarily because I was waiting for the big reveal, the aha! moment coming from the clearly outmatched lawyers representing the AG.

It never came.

For a podcast version of this webcast go here.

The clear act, the violation of law that Dr. Caitlin Bernard committed, was never established. This second-rate board repeatedly showed its ignorance of law and did not seem driven to establish the violation. By the time the proceeding had reached decision time, it was clear the board just wanted to give the AG’s team something to justify the inordinate amount of time, effort and expense they had wasted trying to punish the doctor. So, they did.

They hung their hats on an empty HIPAA violation as an excuse to reprimand and fine Bernard, specifically for comments she gave to the Indianapolis Star last year. The trouble is, the comments did not violate HIPAA, an important detail. But there is something else that is even more important.

The “victim” of the violation, the then 10-year-old girl or her mother, were not bringing the complaint. That’s generally where HIPAA violations start: a patient is unhappy that their privacy has been violated. The other problem is that when someone’s privacy has been violated, the MLB can’t award damages for the alleged “harm.”

No case, no harm

There was no actual harm. In this case, a sad, little man named Rokita was the only one harmed, and that harm was self-imposed.

Indiana should not forget what led the state to this shameful outcome.

It started on July 11, 2022, when Jesse Watters, the bomb throwing anchor at Fox News started crusading in his search for a villain in the saga of a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who needed and received an abortion in Indiana.

A quote from Jesse Watters that night: “If there’s a 10-year-old child abuser on the streets of Ohio, he needs to be brought to justice. And if so-called doctors are covering up child rape, they need to be prosecuted…This Indiana abortion doctor has covered this up.”

Uh, no, Jesse. You made that up about the doctor. Even the hapless Indiana MLB concluded that. But it baited our childish AG into showing up on Watters’s show two days later to try and gin up some misplaced outrage on the matter.

His own words

Here are the highlights of a two-minute, entirely conjured, right-wing rant that Rokita gave Watters on July 13, 2022. All the quotes below are from him, and available on video:

“This is an illegal immigration issue…a horrible, horrible scene caused by Marxists, and socialists and those in the White House who want lawlessness at the border.”

What? Is that what this is all about?

More of his rant:

“Then we have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report.”

She is a doctor first, and she has no history of failing to report. This is just a lie.

Finally:

“Well of course this is a child and there is a strong public interest in understanding you know if someone under the age of 16 or under the age of 18 or really any woman is having an abortion in our state…this girl was politicized, politicized for the gain of killing more babies. That was the goal.”

Kangaroo court

Here’s the summary. Little Todd was enraged by immigration and abortion. Immigration isn’t in his jurisdiction, and abortion still isn’t illegal in Indiana. But Roe v. Wade had been repealed a couple of weeks earlier, so, why shouldn’t Indiana’s AG start acting like the law is magically as he’d like it to be?

He never cared about the 10-year-old or her privacy. He was mad she got an abortion in Indiana on his watch.

It sickens me to hear him claim today that his concern for the little girl was why he did all of this. No, it wasn’t.

Rokita is a sad excuse for a public servant. His kangaroo court obliterated their credibility too. I hope we don’t ever need them to do something important for Indiana.

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Michael Leppert
Michael Leppert

Michael Leppert is an author, educator and a communication consultant in Indianapolis. He writes about government, politics and culture at MichaelLeppert.com.

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