A lawyer emailed the Indiana State Attorney General on Friday asking him to stop spreading false or misleading information about an Indianapolis doctor who performed an abortion in June on a rape victim 10 year old from Ohio.
Attorney Kathleen DeLaney sent the ‘cease and desist’ letter to Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita on behalf of obstetrician-gynecologist Caitlin Bernard, who performed a medical abortion on the girl .
The letter says Rokita’s statements on Wednesday on Fox News “cast Dr. Bernard in a false light and allege misconduct in his profession.” DeLaney said the doctor could file a libel suit against Rokita if he doesn’t comply.
Rokita told Fox that her office was investigating whether Bernard violated medical confidentiality laws by speaking to the Indianapolis Star about the victim, and he said she did not inform authorities of the suspicion of child abuse. He made no specific allegations of wrongdoing.
Records obtained by The Associated Press and other local media show Bernard submitted the report on July 2, which matches the three-day reporting period required by the state for an abortion performed on a girl under the age of 18. 16 years old.
“We are particularly concerned that, given the controversial political context of the statements, such inflammatory accusations have the potential to incite harassment or violence from the public, which could prevent Dr Bernard, a medical doctor licensed in Indiana, to provide safe care to its patients,” the letter reads.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with the girl’s rape, confirming the case which has been scrutinized by Republican politicians and some media outlets. Those reactions intensified after Democratic President Joe Biden expressed sympathy for the girl when signing an executive order protecting abortion access last week.
“Like all correspondence, it will be reviewed if and when it arrives. Regardless, no false or misleading statements have been made,” Kelly Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Rokita’s office, said via email.
Bernard tweeted on Friday that she hopes “to be able to share my story soon.”
“It has been a difficult week, but my colleagues and I will continue to provide healthcare with ethics, love and courage every day,” she wrote.
Dr. Diana Contreras, health care manager at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement saying, “No medical provider should be harassed, intimidated or criminalized for doing their job. This is unacceptable and unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.