dr Caitlin Bernard, who aborted a 10-year-old rape victim, is suing the Indiana Attorney General

washington — dr Caitlin Bernard, the Obstetrician and gynecologist from Indianapolis who aborted a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio is suing Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, claiming he relied on “baseless” consumer complaints to launch “over-the-top” investigations into doctors offering abortion treatments and issue subpoenas for searches their patients’ confidential medical records.

The lawsuit, which was brought by attorney Kathleen DeLaney on behalf of Bernard and her medical partner, Dr. Amy Caldwell in the Indiana Commercial Court in Marion County alleges that Rokita initiated investigations into seven Consumer complaints filed against Bernard after she came under scrutiny for performing the drug-induced abortion on June 30, days after the Supreme Court conversely Roe v. calf.

Bernard was thrust into the national spotlight after she told the Indianapolis Star that a child abuse doctor in Ohio called her about the pregnant 10-year-old, who was requesting an out-of-state abortion due to Ohio’s near-total abortion ban. a man was arrested and charged with rape two weeks later. Ohio’s abortion law, which prohibits the procedure once an embryonic heartbeat is detected, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy, came into effect after the Supreme Court issued its decision overthrowing Roe.

in a (n interview With CBS Evening News host and editor-in-chief Norah O’Donnell, Bernard could not confirm in July that she performed the abortion because of privacy laws, but state records confirmed it, and her lawsuit filed Thursday relates to hers “Providing abortion treatments to this patient.”

After opening inquiries into the complaints, Bernard’s attorneys, Rokita and Scott Barnhart, director of the consumer protection division at the attorney general’s office, said in August they issued “widespread subpoenas for documents” to a hospital system to obtain the child’s full medical record. The subpoenas, they wrote, “serve no legitimate investigative purpose.”

“The inappropriate behavior of the attorney general and director deters patients who need emergency abortions from seeking medical care,” they told the court. “It also threatens patients seeking a legal abortion that their most personal and private medical records and healthcare decisions could be exposed in a pointless investigation.”

In addition to investigating Bernard, the lawsuit has alleged that Rokita also opened an investigation into Caldwell’s actions in May based on a consumer complaint filed on the basis of a “pregnancy termination report” required for all abortions performed in the state was obtained through an Open Records request.

In late July, Rokita served Caldwell a subpoena for all medical records related to the patient identified in the report and in October served a subpoena to a local health clinic to request medical records for the same patient. Neither Caldwell nor the patient were informed of the subpoena.

Bernard’s attorneys said they are aware of at least five subpoenas issued by Rokita’s office, but believe there could be more as they are sent to facilities that may have medical records.

“The Attorney General’s overreach in searching for these irrelevant medical records poses a significant threat to patient privacy and medical record confidentiality,” they said. “Because of their unawareness of the document subpoenas, doctors like Drs. Bernard and Caldwell are unable to take steps to ensure their patients’ most confidential and personal information is protected.”

Bernard and Caldwell are asking the court to prevent Rokita and his office from opening an investigation without evaluating the merits of each consumer complaint and to prevent the attorney general from issuing subpoenas related to an investigation based on a consumer complaint without finding whether this is justified .

Kelly Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Rokita, said the attorney general’s office investigates “thousands” of potential license, privacy and other violations each year as required by state law.

“A large proportion of the complaints we receive are actually from non-patients. All investigations resulting from potential violations will be treated in a consistent and closely focused manner,” Stevenson said in a statement to CBS News. “We will continue to discuss this particular matter based on the court filings we have filed.”

After Bernard’s involvement became public over the summer, leading Republicans accused her of lying about the incident and Rokita vowed to investigate whether she broke state law that requires doctors to perform abortions on patients under the age of 16 within three years days after the operation. Referring to Bernard as an “abortion activist who acts as a doctor,” Rokita said he sought documents proving Bernard met Indiana’s requirements and said her licensure could be compromised if she didn’t.

Records obtained by CBS News and cited in the lawsuit show that Bernard filed the required abortion report on July 2, two days after she performed the abortion on the 10-year-old. Notices accompanying the report included information showing Bernard was cooperating with authorities investigating the girl’s rape, court filings say.

A 27-year-old Ohio man was arrested and calculated with the rape in mid-July, and police said he confessed to the crime. A Columbus, Ohio police detective testified that law enforcement learned of the girl’s pregnancy through a June 22 referral from her mother to Franklin County Children Services, and the abortion was performed June 30 in Indianpolis.

Bernard and Caldwell’s lawsuit alleges that Rokita launched its investigation — and subsequent subpoenas — on the basis of “frivolous” complaints, in violation of Indiana’s legal framework for investigating consumer complaints against licensed medical providers.

According to the lawsuit, seven people filed consumer complaints against Bernard between July 8 and July 12, days after she was exposed as the doctor who performed the abortion on the Ohio girl. Many were submitted by people who did not claim to live in Indiana, and all said they saw news articles or social media posts about Bernard’s patients.

“The face of the consumer complaints showed that the allegations were based on rumour, hearsay or speculation,” Bernard’s attorneys wrote.

In one complaint, in a section dealing with “incident details,” one person wrote that Bernard “was made aware of the rape of a 10-year-old by authorities,” suggesting they failed to comply with Indiana’s reporting requirements said a copy cited in the lawsuit. The person also included vague contact information for Bernard, listing her address as “U of I” and her phone number as a series of fives.

Another complaint related to Bernard’s television appearances with a link to an MSNBC interview, writing, “As an Ohio citizen, I feel that this misinformation (aka LIE) has tarnished my state’s image and is a malicious act directed at it.” aims to harm people like me who have a pro-life position.”

The unidentified complainant continued: “I have personally experienced hostilities against me, with specific mention of Dr. Bernard’s interviews and her allegation that a 10-year-old Ohio girl was forced to have an abortion at Bernard’s Indiana clinic. If I continue to be harassed this way, I will file a personal injury lawsuit against Dr. Submit Bernard.”

Also included in the filing was a photo showing online search results about the abortion, with red flags pointing to Bernard’s name, according to the lawsuit.

In a third complaint, cited in Bernard’s lawsuit, the claimant is asked “what was the very first contact between you and the person/entity,” and next to the “other” box he wrote, “Reported in the U.S. Media and President of The United States.”

“These consumer complaints appeared valid and no reasonable prosecutor could find them to be well-founded,” Bernard’s attorneys wrote.

Other complaints that led to investigations by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office included one based on “messages” alleging that Bernard had “failed to report child sexual abuse” and another saying without Calling Bernard that “the doctor didn’t report the 10-year rape that was brought from Ohio to Indy.” [sic] Abortion.” The complainant listed herself as the company against which the complaint was filed and gave a phone number of “317,” court records show.

“The Attorney General and the Director conducted several investigations into Dr. Bernard, despite the apparent flaws in all of the consumer complaints and the fact that publicly available information suggested the complaints were frivolous,” argued Bernard’s attorneys, citing the abortion report she filed. consistent with Indiana law.

Indiana became the first state to happen a near-total ban on abortion following the Supreme Court decision ending the constitutional right to abortion. The state legislature approved the law in August, which includes exceptions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. The ban went into effect Sept. 15, but the Indiana Supreme Court blocked its enforcement after abortion providers challenged the measure in state court, arguing that it violated the state constitution.

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