Indiana’s Legal Battle: Hospital System Faces Lawsuit for Backing Doctor Involved in Abortion of 10-Year-Old Ohio Girl

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) has filed a lawsuit against the health system where a 10-year-old Ohio girl received abortion services last year after being denied in her home state. He alleges that the institution failed to enforce HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In July 2022, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN employed by IU Health in Indiana, made headlines when she shared her story with the Indianapolis Star. She recounted providing abortion services to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.

Conservatives, including Rokita, were outraged by this story and accused Dr. Bernard of violating patient privacy and mandatory reporting laws in Indiana.

Rokita took action by filing a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board against Dr. Bernard. He claimed that she had violated her patient’s privacy. The board conducted an investigation and ultimately found Dr. Bernard guilty of privacy law violations. As a result, she was reprimanded and fined $3,000.

Throughout this controversy, IU Health maintained that Dr. Bernard had followed Indiana’s abortion reporting laws. The health system disagreed with the licensing board’s ruling.

However, in a statement on Friday, Rokita accused the health system of violating various laws by supporting Dr. Bernard. He claimed that IU Health had failed to prevent HIPAA violations and had deceived consumers.

Rokita stated, “We are requesting that the court issue a permanent injunction to prevent IU Health and the other defendants from continuing to violate HIPAA and for the maximum amount of fines, restitutions, penalties, and damages allowed by law. This includes violations of Indiana’s medical privacy laws.”

When contacted for comment, IU Health responded, “At IU Health, we hold ourselves accountable every day for providing quality healthcare and securing privacy for our patients. We continue to be disappointed that the Indiana Attorney General’s office persists in prioritizing this matter. We will respond directly to the AG’s office regarding the filing.”

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