Thursday, February 29

Indiana OB/GYN who provided abortion services to 10-year-olds says AG’s probes ‘riddled with inaccuracies’

Lawyers representing Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana OB/GYN who garnered national attention after providing abortion services to a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped, decried the “consumer complaint” investigations Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) has initiated against her.

The law office representing Bernard, DeLaney & DeLaney, released a statement on Thursday saying Rokita had forwarded six letters to the doctor on Tuesday informing her that six “consumer complaint” investigations had been started.

The law firm asserted that none of the individuals involved in the complaints ever had any direct interactions with Bernard. The complaints appear to have come from people living in California, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio. Only one complaint involved a person from Indiana, where Bernard is based.

“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. The complaints are riddled with inaccuracies and rely on no first-hand knowledge,” said the law firm.

Among the “inaccuracies” it said it found in the complaints, the law firm noted that Bernard’s phone number on one complaint was listed as “555-555-5555,” which is not a real phone number. It also noted that one person who submitted a complaint against her had a “significant criminal history,” though it did not go further into detail.

“Unfortunately, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita continues to use his office to try and intimidate Dr. Caitlin Bernard. 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,” wrote DeLaney & DeLaney.

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“The Attorney General’s office investigates a variety of consumer complaints across the Consumer Protection Division, which is a large division within the office. We don’t discuss the details of investigations,” Rokita’s office said in a statement to The Hill.

After Bernard told the Indianapolis Star that she had provided abortion services to a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had been denied an abortion after she was raped earlier this year, a storm of media coverage arose. This story occurred shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and abortions were severely restricted or banned in a number of states.

Rokita claimed on national TV that Bernard had failed to follow Indiana’s abortion reporting requirements and further claimed that she had a history of failing to properly file reports.

Bernard’s employer came forward saying it had found no evidence of her failing to follow procedure, and the Star later reported that it had obtained documents proving she had filed the reports.

Earlier this month, Bernard announced that she had filed a tort claim notice against Rokita for making “false and misleading” statements about her in the media.

“Mr. Rokita’s false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession constitute defamation per se, ”a statement from Bernard read, adding that Rokita’s actions“ exceed the general scope of Mr. Rokita’s authority as Indiana’s Attorney General. ”

“We continue to explore legal remedies to hold Mr. Rokita accountable for his conduct,” DeLaney & DeLaney said in their statement on Thursday.

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Updated at 7:32 pm

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