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Abortionist fined for violating privacy laws in sharing 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion story Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

Abortionist fined for violating privacy laws in sharing 10-year-old rape victim’s abortion story

The Indianapolis abortionist seemed to be quite proud of her role in aborting the baby of a 10-year-old girl.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard told a reporter from The Indianapolis Star at an abortion rally that she'd provided the abortion after receiving a call from a child abuse doctor in Ohio. The 10-year-old rape victim was three days past the six-week limit under Ohio's new abortion law, meaning she would have to go to a state that would allow an abortion. She'd been raped when she was just 9 years old.

Ohio's "fetal heartbeat" law went into effect with the Supreme Court's June 24 decision. It prohibits abortion from the time cardiac activity can be detected, which is usually around the sixth week of pregnancy,

Indiana's Republican attorney general Todd Rokita asked the state medical licensing board to discipline Bernard due to her speaking publicly about providing the abortion in this case.

The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl's child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl's treatment. She stated the girl’s age, the state she was coming from, and the stage of her pregnancy.

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Indiana Deputy Attorney General Cory Voight told the medical licensing board that, "everyone – the country – learned about her patient. Learned a 10-year-old little girl was raped and had an abortion,” because of Bernard's sharing of the story with the public. 

Tweet This: Everyone learned about the abortionist's patient because of her sharing the story with the public.

Voight also reported that Bernard’s failure to immediately report the child abuse ended with “a child returning to live with her rapist for five days in Ohio.” 

"Dr. Bernard violated the law, her patient's trust, and the standards for the medical profession when she disclosed her patient's abuse, medical issues, and medical treatment to a reporter at an abortion rights rally to further her political agenda," the office said in a statement. "Simply concealing the patient's name falls far short of her legal and ethical duties here."

Deputy Attorney General Caryn Nieman-Szyper said during a court hearing that Bernard wouldn't be under investigation if she hadn't shared the horrible rape story to a reporter to advance her own abortion advocacy.

Her employer, Indiana University Health, conducted its own review last year and found no privacy violations. But the licensing board took up the case after Rokita complained, and did find privacy violations.

The Guardian reported on a lengthy and emotional hearing where the board considered reprimanding Bernard over her alleged conduct. The charges were three counts of violating privacy laws of Indiana and HIPAA. They could have temporarily suspended her medical license or even revoked it completely. The attorney for Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, asked Bernard about her personal abortion views and whether she had a coat hanger tattoo on her ankle, implying that her advocacy was what prompted her to talk publicly about one of her patients. Bernard was fined $1000 for each of the three counts. Two other allegations in the complaint were dismissed with the board determining she did not violate laws requiring physicians to immediately report suspected child abuse and keep abreast of mandatory reporting and patient privacy laws. 

“Like we have said for a year, this case was about patient privacy and the trust between the doctor and patient that was broken,” said Rokita in a statement, “What if it was your child or your parent or your sibling who was going through a sensitive medical crisis, and the doctor who you thought was on your side, ran to the press for political reasons?”

On July 7, Guatemalan Gerston Fuentes, boyfriend of the rape victim’s mother, was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of rape.

Patty Knap

Patty Knap is a certified pregnancy counselor, faith formation teacher, ABA therapist for autism, and freelance writer from Long Island.  

 

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