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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

IU Health doctor caught in national debate in 10-year-old rape victim abortion

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Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an IU Health OB-GYN and assistant professor at IU School of Medicine, became the subject of national debate when the Indianapolis Star reported July 1 that she was going to perform an abortion for a ten-year-old rape victim from Ohio. 

On July 13 Gerson Fuentes confessed to the rape of the Ohio girl and was arrested, confirming the report

Shortly after the confirmation, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said on Fox News he was looking into Bernard’s record. If she failed to report the abortion or wasn’t licensed, Rokita said, it was a crime. 

In Indiana a doctor who performs an abortion on someone under 16 must report the procedure within three days. 

Last Thursday, the Indianapolis Star received documents from the Indiana Department of Health confirming that Bernard reported the procedure in time. 

IU Health conducted an investigation and said Bernard complied with all patient privacy laws. Rokita told IPR he was still investigating the matter on July 15. 

Rokita also claimed Bernard had a history of not reporting abortions she performed, but did not provide evidence. 

Bernard’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Rokita on Friday, claiming his statements were defamatory and invited harassment. 

Indiana is now one of few states with relatively unrestricted abortion access in the region, but it may not be that way for long. Indiana lawmakers have signaled their intent to pass an abortion ban during the July 25 special session. 

Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer and author of the model legislation for abortion bans, told Politico that his law would not have made an exception for the Ohio girl. 

“She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” Bopp said in the article. 

Bopp’s legislation has been sent to lawmakers, although a spokesperson for the Indiana Senate Republicans said legislators will not use Bopp’s draft for the basis of their bill.

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