Indiana’s attorney general faces misconduct complaint over remarks about abortion doctor

A complaint has been filed alleging that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita violated professional conduct rules in statements about a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim last year

ByThe Associated Press
September 18, 2023, 12:41 PM
FILE - Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita speaks, Nov. 8, 2022, in Schererville, Ind. On Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, a complaint was filed alleging that Rokita violated professional conduct rules in statements about Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for the procedure. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
FILE - Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita speaks, Nov. 8, 2022, in Schererville, Ind. On Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, a complaint was filed alleging that Rokita violated professional conduct rules in statements about Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana for the procedure. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- A complaint filed Monday alleges that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita violated professional conduct rules in statements he made about a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim last year.

The Indiana Supreme Court’s disciplinary commission references an interview Rokita gave in July 2022 about Dr. Caitlin Bernard on a Fox News show, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The commission also alleges in its complaint that Rokita, a Republican who is anti-abortion, violated confidentiality requirements by making statements about an investigation into Bernard prior to filing a complaint with the state's Medical Licensing Board.

Rokita in his response filed with the state Supreme Court denied the confidentiality charge, arguing “no confidentiality should be required” because Bernard had first discussed the 10-year-old’s story publicly.

Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, gave the girl a medication-induced abortion in June 2022 and received widespread attention after she gave an interview to the Indianapolis Star about the child.

The doctor’s account of the rape victim traveling from Ohio to Indiana to receive abortion drugs became a flashpoint in the abortion debate days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

Indiana was the first state to approve abortion restrictions after the court’s decision. The near-total abortion ban recently took effect after legal battles.

Bernard later filed a tort claim notice against Rokita, accusing him of making false statements about her and her work.

Rokita filed a federal lawsuit against Indiana University Health last Friday claiming the state's largest hospital system violated patient privacy laws when Bernard publicly shared the girl's story. Rokita's lawsuit also names IU Healthcare Associates.

Bernard was reprimanded by Indiana’s medical licensing board in May, saying she didn’t abide by privacy laws by speaking publicly about the girl’s treatment. Hospital system officials have argued against that assertion.

Gerson Fuentes, 28, who confessed to raping and impregnating the Ohio girl, was sentenced to life in prison in July.