The Indiana AG is suing the state’s largest health system over a doctor who discussed aborting a 10-year-old rape victim

The Indiana AG is suing the state’s largest health system over a doctor who discussed aborting a 10-year-old rape victim

Top line

Indiana’s attorney general has sued the state’s largest hospital system after one of its doctors discussed aborting a 10-year-old girl who traveled from her home state to receive medical care, accusing the system of violating the patient’s privacy the latest attempt to punish the doctor and her staff over a story that drew national attention.

Important facts

Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit in Indianapolis federal court on Friday alleging that Indiana University Health and IU Healthcare Associates violated state and federal law by allowing Dr to perform an abortion in her home state of Ohio because of the state’s six-week abortion ban .

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Indiana, says the hospital system created “confusion” about patient privacy laws by unfairly punishing employees for violations and asks a judge to order the hospital to do so Update patient protection measures and payment for any injunctive relief or damages claims.

The lawsuit alleges the hospital chose to protect the doctor and itself rather than protect the patient’s privacy and should have punished Bernard for speaking out – the doctor is with IU Health Physicians employed and working at the IU Health clinic at the time of the abortion.

India’s medical regulator found in May that Bernard had violated the state’s privacy laws and ordered her to pay a $3,000 fine. However, the agency denied Rokita’s request to suspend her medical license and disagreed with the attorney general that she had failed to report a child abuse case to the state’s Department of Child Services.

Bernard told the board that she followed all of Indiana’s reporting requirements, informed the hospital’s social workers about the case and did not violate privacy laws by not disclosing identifying information about the minor.

Hospital system officials continued to support Bernard, saying she had not violated privacy laws; IU Health said in a statement Forbes It said it was “disappointed that the Indiana Attorney General’s Office continues to devote the state’s limited resources to this matter.”

Important background

Bernard performed a medical abortion on the minor in June 2022 and handed over her treatment to the Indianapolis Stara story that gained national attention after the Supreme Court was overthrown Roe v. Wade in the same month. At the time of the trial, abortion was legal in Indiana but largely illegal in Ohio, and more than a year later, a 28-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for raping the patient. Bernard’s story led to an investigation by Rokita, who said he was investigating whether Bernard reported the abortion to the state as required. Rokita, who opposes abortion, accused the doctor of violating state and federal laws, and she hit back with a defamation lawsuit accusing him of trying to “unlawfully harass doctors and patients” who provide legal abortions carry out. The public feud between Bernard and Rokita has only intensified since the initial investigation: The doctor has accused the AG of violating state laws that prohibit him from responding to “frivolous” consumer complaints and said, his goal is to penalize doctors’ livelihoods and restrict the services they provide.


Indiana then became the first state to approve abortion restrictions roe was knocked over, according to the AP. A near-total ban on abortion came into force in August. Abortions are now permitted before the 20th week of pregnancy in the case of a “fatal fetal anomaly” or to protect the health of the mother, and up to the 10th week of pregnancy in the case of rape or incest. All other abortions are now illegal in Indiana.

Crucial quote

“A 10-year-old girl should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child?” said President Joe Biden about the case. “I can’t imagine anything more extreme.”

further reading

Doctor Reprimanded for Publicly Disclosing Abortion of 10-Year-Old Rape Victim (Forbes)

Indiana doctor who helped 10-year-old rape victim get abortion sues state AG over ‘sham exam’ (Forbes)

Indiana AG asks medical board to punish doctor who helped 10-year-old rape victim get an abortion (Forbes)

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