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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

Dr. Caitlin Bernard sues Indiana AG Todd Rokita over patient records in abortion case 

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A lawsuit filed in Marion County in early November seeks an injunction against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, which would prevent him from accessing patient medical records.  

Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s current lawsuit seeks to prevent Rokita from accessing patient medical records based on consumer complaints, though attorneys say she has not ruled out filing a suit for defamation due to multiple comments made by Rokita since July. 

In July, Bernard spoke out about providing abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for treatment after Ohio’s six-week abortion ban went into effect.  

Rokita’s office said Bernard violated Indiana child abuse reporting laws, which requires doctors to report abortions for patients younger than 16 within three days of the procedure. 

Dr. Bernard claims in the lawsuit that Rokita’s issuance of subpoenas to healthcare facilities for patient records has been based on consumer complaints from those who are not Bernard’s patients or reside outside of Indiana.  

The attorney general’s office has since filed an administrative complaint stating. Bernard failed to uphold legal and Hippocratic responsibilities. The complaint also claims Bernard exploited the 10-year-old patient’s story to the press for her own interests, and she failed to immediately report the abuse and rape of a child to Indiana authorities. 

The complaint claims multiple consumer complaints were made to the attorney general from those who are not Bernard’s patients or colleagues. Those people were not named in the complaint. 

On a July 13 Fox News broadcast, Rokita said Bernard may have failed to report the procedure in time and stated she “has a history of failing to report.” Rokita did not provide evidence to substantiate his claims. 

But, documents confirmed Bernard had, in fact, reported the procedure within the three-day time frame. 

Kathleen DeLaney, attorney for Bernard, filed a cease-and-desist letter in July asking Rokita to stop making false and misleading statements. DeLaney stated Rokita’s statements were false and potentially defamatory. 

“I’m concerned that the real purpose behind these actions might be, in my opinion, an effort to intimidate physicians who provide abortion care and patients who seek that care,” DeLaney said in an interview with NPR.  

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