An Indiana doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio girl, has filed a claim for damages against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita saying that he smeared her as an activist and falsely stated that she failed to report the procedure.
Attorneys for Dr. Caitlin Bernard sent the notice to Rokita on Tuesday seeking damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm, and emotional distress.
Dr. Bernard helped the child obtain the abortion last month after reporting the procedure to relevant state agencies before the legally mandated deadline.
But last week, Indiana AG Todd Rokita questioned whether she had reported the procedure to state officials, bragging that he was ‘gathering evidence’ to see if the doctor could face ‘a criminal charge.’ However, he did not provide evidence to back up his claims.
Rokita has 90 days to investigate or settle the claim. After that period of time, Bernard can then file a defamation lawsuit.
Dr Caitlin Bernard helped the rape victim obtain an abortion, and has filed a claim seeking damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm, and emotional distress
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said last week that an investigation had been launched into Dr. Bernard. She performed an abortion on the unidentified 10-year-old rape victim whose story made headlines when she was forced to travel from her home state to Indiana
‘Mr. Rokita’s false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession constitute defamation per se,’ according to the notice.
‘The statements have been and continue to be published by or on behalf of Mr. Rokita and the Office of the Attorney General. To the extent that these statements exceed the general scope of Mr. Rokita’s authority as Indiana’s Attorney General, the statement forms the basis of an actionable defamation claim against Mr. Rokita individually.’
Documents obtained by the Washington Post have revealed that Dr Bernard did report the minor’s abortion before she was legally mandated to do so.
Kathleen DeLaney, the doctors attorney said: ‘My client, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician.
‘She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients.’
During an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Rokita said: ‘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, in Indiana it’s a crime to intentionally not report.
He first raised his doubts in a letter to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, saying that his office had requested, but not received, documentation from state agencies.
In his interview with Fox News, Rokita ranted: ‘First of all this is an illegal immigration issue likely because of Biden’s lawlessness at the border and everything going on down there.
‘Which is why Indiana as a non-border state has filed several independent lawsuits on that.
‘Then we have the rape, then we have this abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report.’
Officials with Indiana University Health said in a statement that Bernard did not violate any privacy laws when she shared an anecdote with the media about the 10-year-old rape victim needing an abortion in Indiana.
They added: ‘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.
‘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.’
In Indiana, abortion is legal up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy and under the state’s laws those who provide the procedure are required to report them within 30 days.
Any patients who are younger than 16 the reporting window is cut down to three days, and doctors must alert both Indiana’s department of health and department of child services.
This is a way for authorities to launch investigations into possible child abuse cases.
The mother (pictured hiding behind her front door) of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and impregnated by an illegal immigrant has denied the charges against Gerson Fuentes (not pictured). She claims her daughter is ‘fine’ and Fuentes is the subject of ‘lies’
The rape victim, a 10-year-old girl from Ohio, was attacked by illegal immigrant Gerson Fuentes, 27, who has admitted the crime.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, (pictured) was arrested on July 12 and has been charged with one count of rape after police say he confessed to raping the child two different times
But the mother of the child has sensationally denied the charges, claiming that her daughter is ‘fine’ after being forced to travel to Indiana to get an abortion.
In an interview with Noticias the girl’s mother claimed that ‘everything they’re saying against him is a lie.’
Fuentes was arraigned earlier this month in Columbus, where he faces a charge of felony first-degree rape of a child under 13 with his bail was set at $2 million.
The woman reportedly said she has not filed charges against Fuentes, even though he was charged with rape after confessing to having ‘vaginal contact’ with the girl on at least two occasions.
The girl recently celebrated her 10th birthday, leaving investigators to suspect she was only nine years old when she was raped and later became pregnant.
Her case was first reported on July 1, a week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and gained international attention.
The victim was forced to travel to Indiana for the procedure as it is barred in her home state due to the so-called heartbeat bill, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The Ohio bill does not have any exceptions for rape, incest or abuse.
Ohio is one of the many states set to impose laws, which would cap abortions at six weeks and do not have exceptions for rape or incest. Also in the state of Ohio, doctors are mandated to report abuse of minors
Initially the girl had sought treatment from an Ohio doctor but was turned away because she was just over six weeks pregnant, the cut-off imposed by a new state law.
She then asked Bernard for help on June 30, and the doctor then alerted Indiana’s department of health and department of child services of the girl’s abortion on July 2, noting that she had been a victim of abuse.
Police were made aware of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral by the Franklin County Children Services that had been made by her mother on June 22.
Columbus police Detective Jeffrey Huhn, who testified at Fuentes’ arraignment Wednesday, claims the girl named the Guatemalan resident as her attacker and the father of her child.
He also testified that DNA evidence collected from the clinic in Indianapolis will be tested against samples taken from Fuentes, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Officials are also testing DNA collected from the child’s siblings in an attempt to confirm who fathered the fetus.
The case has been under scrutiny by Ohio officials since it first made national headlines earlier this month.