Indiana AG says state will look at license of doctor who provided abortion to 10-year-old rape victim


Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) says he will be looking into the licensure of the physician who provided abortion services to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who made national headlines after she traveled out of state to receive the procedure.

Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana obstetrician-gynecologist, publicly shared earlier this month in an interview published by the The Indianapolis Star that she would be assisting the young girl, who was prohibited from getting an abortion under Ohio’s six-week ban.

The case has been the focus of intense scrutiny, as it comes just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal right to an abortion.

According to Bernard, she was contacted by a colleague who is a child abuse doctor in Ohio.

Rokita appeared on Fox News Wednesday and referred to Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.” He accused her of having a history of failing to report abortions and that an investigation into the physician and her license is underway.

“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure if she failed to report. And in Indiana it’s a crime … to intentionally not report,” Rokita said.

Bernard has yet to respond publicly to Rokita’s remarks. The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday, citing documents it obtained, that Bernard reported the 10-year-old’s abortion by filing a form through the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Child Services, on which she noted that the patient had been abused.

According to the Star, Bernard filed the form two days after the procedure, in compliance with Indiana law requiring notification within three days for patients under age 16.

On Wednesday, she had tweeted, “My heart breaks for all survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I am so sad that our country is failing them when they need us most. Doctors must be able to give people the medical care they need, when and where they need it.

Rokita sent a letter to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) on Thursday, requesting that he order state agencies to produce the Termination of Pregnancy Report that Bernard should have filed after performing an abortion.

“If Dr. Bernard has failed to file the required reports on time, she has committed an offense, the consequences of which could include criminal prosecution ad licensing repercussions,” wrote Rokita.

The attorney general said his office had made multiple attempts to obtain the reports over the past few days through multiple state agencies with no results so far. The Indianapolis Star wrote in its Thursday report that it had obtained the documents through a public records request.

The Indiana Democratic Party blasted Rokita in a statement saying, “Attorney General Todd Rokita is looking to sue a doctor for saving a young girl’s life. The Indiana Republican Party believes rape survivors – including minors – should be forced to give birth to their rapist’s baby. Their agenda is dangerous and too extreme for Indiana.”

In a statement to the Indianapolis Star, one of Bernard’s lawyers, said the team is considering legal action against Rokita and others who have “smeared” Bernard.

The story of the 10-year-old rape victim quickly rose to national attention, with abortion activists denouncing that the child was denied an abortion in her own state after being raped, while anti-abortion figures initially expressed doubt that the story was even true.

It was later confirmed that the incident had occurred when a 27-year-old Columbus man, Gerson Fuentes, was arrested on Tuesday after confessing to raping the child on at least two occasions.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) was among those who publicly expressed doubt that the story was factual before the arrest, claiming that there had been no evidence filed to verify the account.

“I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence. And shame on the Indianapolis paper that ran this thing on a single source who has an obvious axe to grind,” Yost told the USA Today network earlier this week.

Following the arrest, Yost issued a one-sentence response stating, “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.”

Julia Mueller contributed.

Updated 8:17 p.m.



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