Indiana Fines Doctor who Provided Abortion to Child Rape Victim

May 26, 2023

The Indiana State Medical Board on Thursday fined Dr. Caitlin Bernard $3,000 and reprimanded her, saying she violated her young patient’s privacy by discussing the 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion.

The board did decide against harsher penalties, which could have included suspension or probation. Instead the board decided that Bernard was fit to return to her medical practice.

The board also cleared her of accusations that she failed to appropriately report the child’s rape to authorities. 

The investigation into Bernard’s actions was opened up last summer when Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) began to look into whether Bernard followed state law requiring doctors to report abortions. 

Despite public records showing the doctor had reported the 10-year-old’s abortion two days after it was performed—within the required window—Rokita accused her of “violating a patient’s privacy rights” and the obligation to immediately report child abuse to Indiana authorities.

The child rape victim was from Ohio, and had crossed state lines into Indiana for the abortion because her pregnancy had already moved beyond her home state’s six-week abortion ban. 

The medical board came to its conclusions at close to midnight Thursday following a hearing that lasted more than 15 hours. 

In a statement late Thursday, Rokita insisted the case was about patient privacy, adding, “What if it was your child or your patient 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?”

Bernard has asserted that her own comments regarding the politically-charged case did not reveal the patient’s protected health information, and she has accused Rokita of turning the child’s case into a “political stunt.”

PHOTO: Indiana State House; Source: Rosina Peixoto

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