September 18, 2023

Indiana AG sues state hospital for violating privacy of girl who traveled from Ohio for abortion

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit against his state’s largest hospital, alleging it violated a patient’s privacy when it leaked news that a 10-year-old girl had crossed state lines for an abortion.

Rokita, a Republican, filed the lawsuit Friday, alleging that the doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, wrongfully outed the 10-year-old girl who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for the abortion.

‘Neither the 10-year-old nor her mother gave the doctor authorization to speak to the media about their case,’ the lawsuit states. ‘Rather than protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor, and itself.’

The lawsuit names Indiana University Health and IU Healthcare Associates, claiming they violated HIPPA laws.

An Indiana board voted Thursday to reprimand Bernard for performing the abortion and sharing the information about the procedure with the media.

The Indiana State Medical Licensing Board fined Bernard $3,000 after it determined she violated privacy laws by talking publicly about the operation.

The board, however, turned down a request from the attorney general’s office to suspend Bernard’s license.

Bernard attested to her own innocence and repeatedly defended her actions, telling the board Thursday that she followed Indiana’s reporting requirements.

Bernard also said she notified hospital social workers about the child abuse and confirmed the girl’s rape was already being investigated by Ohio authorities. She and her attorneys also argued that she did not release identifying information about the girl.

Board members questioned her during last week’s hearing and asked why she specifically went to a reporter.

‘I think that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impacts of the laws of this country about abortion,’ Bernard answered. ‘I think it’s important for people to know what patients will have to go through because of legislation that is being passed, and a hypothetical does not make that impact.’

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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