According to a statement that was made public on Tuesday by the doctor’s attorney, the doctor from Indianapolis who provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim is preparing to sue Attorney General Todd Rokita of Indiana for defamation after he said that he would investigate her actions in the case. Rokita had said that he would investigate her actions in the case.
After speaking to The Indianapolis Star about one of her patients, a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who travelled to another state for an abortion, Dr. Caitlin Bernard drew the ire of legislators and commentators who adhere to conservative political ideologies. In the roughly a dozen states that have abortion restrictions, Ohio is one of the states that does not grant any exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.
This month, when President Biden was signing an executive order in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, he brought up the case, which brought it to the attention of people all around the country.
At first, several people on the right, including Mr. Rokita, were sceptical about whether or not the tale was accurate. The arrest of a guy, age 27, by police in Ohio and the filing of charges against him in connection with the rape of the kid put an end to that rumour.
According to documents acquired by The New York Times and other news organisations, Dr. Bernard provided the state with notification of the young patient’s abortion, as is required by the law in the state of Indiana.
The allegation is the first stage in the process, which may ultimately lead to the filing of a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Rokita. According to the statement that Ms. DeLaney issued, the notification that she submitted on Tuesday triggered an investigation time for the state to settle the claim that lasted for ninety days. After that period, a lawsuit might be brought, she added. Mr. Rokita said that he will keep looking into the matter even after it was reported in the press that Dr. Bernard had informed the state.
HIPAA authorises doctors and other medical professionals, including Dr. Bernard, to violate patient confidentiality if they believe that there is a significant risk to the patient’s health or safety or to the health or safety of others. According to a spokeswoman for Mr. Rokita’s office, the allegations that Dr. Bernard may file a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Rokita are “baseless statements.”
In a separate development, Lauren Robel, who had previously served as the dean of the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, lodged a formal complaint against Mr. Rokita with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, requesting that an investigation be conducted into his “conduct in these matters.”
Following the public comments made by Dr. Bernard on the repercussions of Ohio’s abortion law, the authorities in her community have been made aware of concerns regarding her physical safety. According to a source who is aware with Dr. Bernard’s predicament, she has subsequently retained the services of security personnel.
In an interview that took place on Friday, Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, an assistant professor of paediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, expressed her concern for her close friend and fellow physician, who was in the hospital.