Doctor who gave 10-year-old girl an abortion is suing Indiana AG

Doctor who gave 10-year-old girl an abortion is suing Indiana AG

An Indiana doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim sued the state attorney general Thursday, accusing him of using “frivolous consumer complaints” to launch a “baseless” investigation.

Indiana gynecologist Caitlin Bernard said the office of Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) sought invalid complaints filed by people who read media reports about Bernard performing an abortion on an Ohio girl who had to cross state lines to get the procedure after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“The Attorney General completely ignored the General Assembly’s fine-tuned structure for handling consumer complaints about licensed professionals and engaged in exactly the type of overbearing, harassing conduct that the General Assembly sought to prohibit,” the complaint states.

Indiana law allows the attorney general’s office to confidentially investigate consumer complaints filed against regulated professions if the office determines the complaint has “substantial merit.”

Bernard and one of her colleagues, who also provides abortion services, Amy Caldwell, say Rokita’s office has filed eight “facially invalid” complaints against them, mostly alleging they withheld requested information from authorities.

The complaint shows that one of the alleged complainants lists Bernarda’s phone number as “5555555555” and her postal code as “00000”. The second applicant mistakenly identified himself as the person against whom the complaint was made, according to the lawsuit.

The doctors said the complaints came from people who were not patients of the two doctors and had no relationship with them.

“All of these consumer complaints were filed by individuals who saw news or social media posts related to patient Dr. Bernard and at the time when one newspaper claimed that dr. “Bernard, an activist, unfoundedly wondered whether she had reported child abuse to the police,” the lawsuit says.

Bernard and Caldwell say Rokita’s office investigated those and other complaints in recent months despite having information proving they were false, issuing multiple subpoenas for confidential medical records as part of the investigation. The lawsuit seeks to prevent Rokit from using complaints to issue subpoenas.

“In addition to exceeding the Attorney General’s authority to investigate, the Attorney General’s overreach in seeking these irrelevant medical records poses a significant threat to patient privacy and the confidentiality of medical records,” the lawsuit states.

Kelly Stevenson, Rokita’s press secretary, said the office investigates thousands of potential license and privacy violations annually as required by law.

“Most of the complaints we get are actually from non-patients,” Stevenson said. “All investigations that arise as a result of potential violations are conducted in a unique and narrowly focused manner. We will discuss this particular issue further through the court filings we are preparing.”

Bernard earlier moved to sue Rokita for making “false and misleading” statements about her, including some statements cited in the new lawsuit as evidence of a breach of confidentiality.

Two doctors alleged Thursday that Rokita violated requirements that investigations of consumer complaints be confidential, saying interview series and press releases the state prosecutor led as he conducted the investigations.

Updated at 3 p.m

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