Board Fines Indiana Doc for Speaking about 10-Year-Old's Abortion
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
An Indiana licensing board has fined a local physician $3,000 and handed her a letter of reprimand after she went public about a 10-year-old Ohio patient forced to travel across state lines for an abortion.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita brought the case against obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Caitlin Bernard, for comments she made last July to the Indianapolis Star about a young rape victim who could not legally receive an abortion in Ohio because she was just over six weeks pregnant.
Bernard testified she did not feel she would have ever been brought before the board - where she risked losing her license - if Rokita had not chosen to make the case a political stunt.
"I feel an obligation as a physician to share information that is relevant to public health," said Bernard, "as well as potentially in light of certain legislation, ensuring that it is clear that those are contrary to the best interest of my patients."
The AG's office had argued Bernard made the decision to speak about her patient to the largest newspaper in Indiana, which resulted in national publicity for the case.
Indiana University Health, where Bernard works, issued a statement after the decision maintaining its findings that Bernard did properly follow privacy laws.
After the story broke, Rokita appeared on Fox News to discuss it. Other Republican leaders, including Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan - R-Urbana - suggested Bernard fabricated the story.
Bernard acknowledged that politics made the case more challenging.
"Certainly, there was a lot of media frenzy," said Bernard. "I was receiving significant harassment, particularly after Fox News picked up on the story and began featuring the story in their news segments. I was quite surprised by all of the attention."
Bernard told the licensing board she was surprised that people think young girls are not, unfortunately, frequently raped and become pregnant.
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