The Indiana doctor who provided abortion services to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim in June filed a complaint Thursday against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. Dr. Caitlin Bernard initiated a lawsuit against Rokita to stop his investigation of her. According to the complaint, Rokita issued subpoenas to access medical records “of individuals who did not themselves file complaints about their physicians and who by all accounts are perfectly satisfied with the medical care they received.”
Bernard’s attorneys stated:
Mr. Rokita’s false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession constitute defamation per se. The statements have been and continue to be published by or on behalf of Mr. Rokita and the Office of the Attorney General to the extent that these statements exceed the general scope of Mr. Rokita’s authority as Indiana’s Attorney General, the statement forms the basis of an actionable defamation claim against Mr. Rokita individually.
The complaint states that the Indiana General Assembly limited Rokita’s “ability to conduct investigations” and prohibited “investigations of licensed professionals until after the Attorney General has made an assessment that a consumer complaint has ‘merit.'” The complaint further states that Rokita is only allowed to investigate “areas in which there appears to be a violation” of law.
Under the Indiana law in effect in June, abortions were legal up to 20 weeks after conception. Indiana law also stipulates that abortions performed on children under the age of 16 must be reported to the Department of Child Services within three days of the service. Rokita launched an investigation into whether Bernard met the state’s reporting requirement. According to the Indiana Department of Health, Dr. Bernard performed the service on June 30 and filed her report on July 2.