Indiana doctor fined $3,000 for publicly discussing 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion
Indiana’s medical licensing board on Thursday reprimanded a doctor for publicly discussing an abortion she provided for a 10-year-old rape victim in 2022.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist based in Indianapolis, was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after the board voted that she violated patient privacy laws by speaking on the topic with a local newspaper. That decision came after a 12-hour-long hearing at the Indiana Government South building in downtown Indianapolis.
Bernard first made national headlines in the summer of 2022 after she told the Indianapolis Star about her young patient.
The 10-year-old girl, who was just over six weeks pregnant at the time, had to travel to Indiana from Ohio for the procedure, after a law banning abortions past six weeks went into effect in the Buckeye State.
Bernard’s lawyers maintained she didn’t say anything that could identify the girl — but the majority of the board disagreed. They found she shouldn’t have talked to a reporter about the pending abortion, even without sharing identifying information.
“I don’t think she expected this attention to be brought to this patient,” board President Dr. John Strobel said during deliberations. “[But] it did. It happened.”
“But I do think that we as physicians need to be more careful in this situation,” Strobel added. “I think she’s a good doctor. … I think she’s safe to go back to practice.”
Bernard was also accused by Attorney General Todd Rokita — a Republican who last year referred to Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor” — of not immediately contacting Indiana authorities about the incident, as required by state law.
Bernard maintains she followed the state’s requirements, as the rape was being investigated by authorities in neighboring Ohio.
The board — five doctors and one attorney who were all appointed or reappointed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb — rejected Rokita’s claims, turning down his request to suspend her license.
With News Wire Services