Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has informed a Hoosier doctor who performed an abortion for a 10-year-old Ohio girl that his office is still investigating the physician’s reporting actions.
On Tuesday, Rokita sent a notice to Kathleen DeLaney of the Indianapolis firm DeLaney & DeLaney LLC advising that his office is probing her client, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, to ensure the doctor properly reported the procedure to state officials, the Washington Post reported.
“We are in the process of reviewing this information,” DeLaney told the Post, adding the inquiry appears to have just been launched. “It’s unclear to us what is the nature of the investigation and what authority he has to investigate Dr. Bernard.”
Rokita has openly questioned Bernard’s reporting since the story of the abortion procedure, originally reported by the Indianapolis Star, became a flashpoint in the national abortion debate.
The attorney general sent a letter to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on July 13 stating his staff was investigating whether Bernard had failed to report the sexual assault of a minor to state authorities.
That same day, Rokita went on the Fox News program “Jesse Watters Primetime” and called Bernard “an abortion activist acting as a doctor” with a “history of failing to report.” He also said his office was gathering evidence that Bernard failed to report the procedure.
A day later, multiple media outlets published copies of the pregnancy termination report confirming Bernard had reported the abortion two days after it took place. Bernard’s employer, IU Health, has also released a statement saying Bernard complied with privacy laws.
Indiana law requires that an abortion for a child under the age of 16 be reported to the Indiana State Department of Health as well as the Department of Child Services within three days of an abortion.
On Monday, the man charged with raping the child, 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes, pleaded not guilty.
Despite the official public records, Rokita has maintained he’s investigating the doctor’s reporting.
On July 19, DeLaney filed a tort claim notice against Rokita alleging “ongoing” harm that Bernard has endured due to “false and misleading” statements. If Rokita doesn’t respond within 90 days, the claim would be deemed denied and Bernard could file a defamation lawsuit.
Prior to the tort claim notice, DeLaney sent Rokita a cease and desist letter.
Since Rokita’s statements, 29 Indiana law professors have condemned the attorney general’s comments. Former Indiana University Maurer School of Law dean and IU provost Lauren Robel also sent a letter to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission requesting an investigation into Rokita’s conduct.
Indiana has requested comment from both the Attorney General’s Office and Bernard’s legal team.