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Indiana’s attorney general faces ethics charges over comments about abortion doctor. Now he’s suing his employer

After his failed efforts to discipline an Indiana doctor who provided emergency abortion care to a 10-year-old rape survivor, the state’s anti-abortion Republican attorney general is now suing his employer.

His trial also comes as he faces three ethics charges from the state Supreme Court’s disciplinary commission, which found that Todd Rokita’s statements to right-wing media and elsewhere about the Dr. Caitlin Bernard following this high-profile case violated attorney ethics rules.

On May 25, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board determined that Dr. Bernard had violated privacy laws by speaking briefly to a reporter about the case, which subsequently attracted international attention. of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to revoke a constitutional right to abortion care.

Dr. Bernard’s patient came from Ohio, where abortion was effectively banned after six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape and incest. Although it gave a generalized story that did not identify anyone involved, the case attracted national attention, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of sweeping abortion bans.

The doctor also faced wrath from Republican Party officials who falsely suggested the crime against the 10-year-old girl was a hoax, demanded to see criminal and medical records, or accused her of failing to informed law enforcement of his patient’s case.

During an appearance on Fox News, Mr. Rokita called her “an abortion activist who acts like a doctor.” He then subpoenaed doctors and healthcare facilities to obtain medical records relating to the patient.

Records and testimony showed the matter was reported to state agencies as required by law. Her employer, Indiana University Health, also said she did not violate the rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

Last year, as Mr. Rokita sought to revoke the doctor’s license, a judge argued that he had acted illegally with his allegations of wrongdoing, in violation of his own practice’s confidentiality requirements. He caused “irreparable harm” to his reputation with his “unlawful violations” of confidentiality provisions after discussing his investigation in national news and the press, a judge has ruled.


Mr. Rokita’s efforts to professionally discipline Dr. Bernard largely failed in May, after the state licensing board asserted that she had not failed to report child abuse and that she was not unfit to practice medicine.

And in July, the man who pleaded guilty to raping the 10-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 25 years.

Now, in a 28-page federal lawsuit, Mr. Rokita is taking on Indiana University Health, arguing that instead of “protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor and itself “.

The hospital “disclosed a systemic flaw in the implementation and administration of the HIPAA rules that affects the privacy of all of its patients,” according to its complaint.

“We hold ourselves accountable every day for providing quality health care and ensuring the privacy of our patients,” read a statement from Indiana University Health. “We continue to be disappointed that the Indiana Attorney General’s Office continues to devote the state’s limited resources to this matter. We will respond directly to the Attorney General’s Office regarding the filing.

Meanwhile, Mr Rokita is accused of violating three rules of professional conduct after baselessly calling him a “pro-abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of non-reporting” and having “intentionally made public statements and/or directed others to make public statements.” on the investigation into Dr. Bernard.

“Our legal team has no involvement in the recent charges filed and therefore cannot comment on them. We will monitor the progress of the disciplinary commission process and let the complaint speak for itself,” according to a statement from Dr. Bernard’s attorney, Kathleen DeLaney.

In a lengthy response statement, Mr Rokita suggested the committee was made up of “radicals” in an “environment that ‘cancels’ non-compliant citizens through intimidation as well as tactics that can weaponize our respected institutions .

In the year since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, more than a dozen states have effectively banned abortion in most or all circumstances.

Ohio voters will vote next November on an amendment that would create a constitutional right to abortion in the state.

After a year-long legal battle, Indiana’s latest anti-abortion law took effect last month, banning most abortions at any time during pregnancy unless the woman’s life or health is at risk. seriously in danger.

Abortion is permitted before 22 weeks of pregnancy if a “fatal fetal abnormality” is detected, or up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape or incest.


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