An Indiana-based physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, has faced disciplinary action following her public remarks about an abortion she performed on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Bernard, who administered the procedure in Indiana, came under fire due to allegations of privacy law violations in speaking about the case. The state’s Medical Licensing Board found her culpable, imposed a $3,000 fine, and issued a formal reprimand.
The incident surfaced when Bernard, called to the board by Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita, was accused of breaching Indiana law by not notifying the authorities about the rape case. Furthermore, Bernard was charged with infringing federal patient privacy regulations when she divulged details about the case to the Indianapolis Star following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Bernard has consistently denied accusations of contravening Indiana’s reporting laws, asserting that she did not disclose any information that could lead to the identification of the young girl. In her defense, Bernard stated in the Indianapolis hearing, “I think that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impacts of the laws of this country, about abortion or otherwise. I think it’s important for people to know what patients will have to go through because of legislation that is being passed.” Bernard’s attorney defended her stance, asserting that speaking to the media did not break any law, especially since no protected health information about the patient was divulged.