The attorney representing the doctor who performed a legal abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio girl said the Indiana attorney general’s investigation into her client is “riddled with inaccuracies.”
Kathleen DeLaney, Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s lawyer, said Attorney General Todd Rokita’s investigation relies on consumer reports from people who never received care from Bernard or even came in contact with the doctor.
“None of the complaints came from a ‘consumer’ who purchased any goods or services from Dr. Bernard or even from a person who has had direct communication with Dr. Bernard,” DeLaney said in a statement shared Thursday with HuffPost. “The complaints are riddled with inaccuracies and rely on no first-hand knowledge.”
The 10-year-old girl traveled from Ohio to Indiana to undergo the medical procedure after her state outlawed abortions, including in cases involving incest and rape, following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
One complaint cited by the attorney general, DeLaney said, lists Bernard’s phone number as 555-555-5555. Another person listed as a complainant has a “significant criminal history,” she added.
“Unfortunately, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita continues to use his office to try and intimidate Dr. Caitlin Bernard,” the lawyer continued. “We urge Mr. Rokita to stop wasting taxpayer money and our time on his nonsensical campaign against Dr. Bernard for doing her job as a physician properly and in accordance with the law.”
The attorney general’s office wouldn’t comment on DeLaney’s allegations.
“We don’t discuss the details of investigations,” Kelly Stevenson, Rokita’s secretary, told HuffPost in a statement.
Rokita announced the investigation into Bernard during a Fox News appearance on July 13, calling Bernard an “abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report.”
“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure,” Rokita told the conservative outlet. “If she failed to report it in Indiana, it’s a crime for — to not report, to intentionally not report.”
Bernard, though, reported she performed the medical procedure within two days, well within the three-day timeframe mandated by Indiana law for patients under 16 years old. This was confirmed by The Indianapolis Star, which received a copy of the pregnancy termination report from the state Health Department.
Last week, Bernard filed a claim notice notifying Rokita she intends to file a defamation lawsuit over the false statement that she did not report the abortion to state authorities.
“Mr. Rokita’s false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession constitute defamation per se,” her lawyer wrote in the filing. “The statements have been and continue to be published by or on behalf of Mr. Rokita and the Office of the Attorney General.”
The doctor also spoke out in the aftermath of the controversy, telling “CBS Evening News” she hopes the case will help people “realize the impact of these anti-abortion laws.”
“And now when it’s finally become impossible for some people, I think people realize that that is actually not what they intended,” Bernard said. “That is not what they want for children, for women to be put in these situations of life-threatening conditions of traumatic pregnancies.”
Indiana’s state Senate on Thursday rejected a proposal to restrict abortion further by banning exceptions for rape and incest, according to The Associated Press.