INDIANAPOLIS — A letter from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita to Gov. Eric Holcomb shows there is no evidence an Indiana doctor ignored state law after helping a 10-year-old rape victim receive an abortion. The letter contradicts the implication Rokita made on Fox News that the doctor ignored a state law to report suspected child abuse.
“He has no evidence to support these allegations,” said Ashley Hadler, an Indiana medical malpractice attorney. “So, all statements that he's made to this point criticizing her actions are completely unfounded.”
Friday morning, IU Health shared the following statement with 13News on its privacy review:
"As part of IU Health’s commitment to patient privacy and compliance with privacy laws, IU Health routinely initiates reviews, including the matters in the news concerning Dr. Caitlin Bernard. Pursuant to its policy, IU Health conducted an investigation with the full cooperation of Dr. Bernard and other IU Health team members. IU Health’s investigation found Dr. Bernard in compliance with privacy laws."
Wednesday night, Rokita went on Fox News Channel’s "Jesse Watters Primetime" and announced he was investigating Dr. Caitlin Bernard to see if she violated Indiana’s mandatory reporting law.
"We have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failure to report,” he said. “So, we're gathering the information, we're gathering the evidence as we speak and we're going to fight this to the end.”
A letter to the governor shows that at that time the attorney general did not have any evidence of wrongdoing. On that same day, his office dated a letter that was sent to Holcomb, asking him to "direct" the Department of Health and the Department of Child Services to release documents about the child’s case.
The letter states Rokita’s office first put in a request to IDOH on Monday, July 11 for the Termination of Pregnancy Report for the 10-year-old. The next day, IDOH said it would take time to fill the request. Tuesday is also when Rokita’s office contacted the Department of Child Services to request if there was a record that someone reported a case of suspected child abuse. DCS reportedly didn’t respond to his office inquiries within the 24-hour period.
Hadler said she thought the comments on FOX News and the investigation into Bernard were intended to have a chilling effect on abortion providers in the state.
“I think that's an intimidation tactic,” she said.
Even if that’s the case, she said the attorney general does have the ability to investigate if state law was not followed. Rokita can even recommend action against a doctor's license, but he cannot revoke and or suspend a doctor’s license on his own. That power is in the hands of the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana.
Bernard’s license is currently active and 13 Investigates did not find any evidence of wrongdoing in her past during a preliminary search. Hadler said her search also came back without any issues. There’s also no criminal record for Bernard. The violation of state’s mandatory reporting law is a misdemeanor offense.