Indiana disciplines doctor who discussed 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion

·2 min read

An Indiana health board Thursday decided to discipline a doctor who discussed a 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion, saying that the doctor violated privacy laws.

The state Medical Licensing Board voted that Caitlin Bernard violated patient privacy laws when she told the Indianapolis Star about a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana from Ohio to receive an abortion, The Associated Press reported. The doctor had gained national attention last year after the 10-year-old girl was denied an abortion in Ohio just days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the veracity of the story was openly questioned by public officials before a suspect confessed to the rape.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) vowed to investigate Bernard’s actions last summer, and his team argued that Bernard had violated patient privacy laws and also failed to report child abuse to Indiana authorities. The report said the board rejected Rokita’s argument that Bernard failed to report child abuse, saying that the girl’s rape was already being investigated by Ohio.

Bernard appeared before the board for a hearing Thursday. When asked why she shared the story of the 10-year-old girl, she said people should understand the impacts that abortion laws can have in this country.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impacts of the laws of this country about abortion,” Bernard said. “I think it’s important for people to know what patients will have to go through because of legislation that is being passed, and a hypothetical does not make that impact.”

Rokita praised the board’s actions in a statement Thursday, saying that his team did a “great job getting the truth out,” noting that Bernard was found liable for violating patient privacy law on three separate counts.

“Like we have said for a year, this case was about patient privacy and the trust between the doctor and patient that was broken,” he said. “What if it was your child or your parent or your sibling who was going through a sensitive medical crisis, and the doctor, who you thought was on your side, ran to the press for political reasons? It’s not right, and the facts we presented today made that clear.”

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