Updated on July 15 at 4pm

An Indiana OB-GYN, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, has been caught up in a national political controversy after discussing the abortion she provided for a 10-year-old child who claimed she had been sexually assaulted in Ohio. Public attacks were hurled at Bernard accusing him of not following government and patient privacy laws.

Now, Bernard’s employer, IU Health, said the hospital conducted an investigation and found that it was in compliance with patient privacy laws.

“IU Health is always open to comments, including news stories about Dr. Caitlin Bernard,” IU Health officials said in a statement. “IU Health’s investigation found Dr. Bernard to be in violation of privacy laws.”

After Roe v. After Wade’s impeachment on June 24, state abortion bans began across the country. Ohio banned abortion after six weeks of pregnancy without exception of rape or sex with a family member, which Bernard said drove the family of a 10-year-old rape victim across state lines.

The political storm began in early July when Bernard told the Indianapolis Star about the case. When the story came out, it started to spread, gaining national and international attention. But, at that time, there was no evidence that rape or abortion actually took place, which led people to attack Bernard’s integrity.

This week, Indiana’s Attorney General, Todd Rokita, accused Bernard on Fox News – without providing evidence – of a history of violating state law, which requires providers to report abortions they perform.

“We have this abortion consultant, who is a doctor, whose reputation fails to report [abortions]. So we are gathering information, we are gathering evidence as we speak,” Rokita said in an interview. “We will fight this to the end, including checking his license if he fails to report. And in Indiana it’s a crime … to say nothing. “

Now, documents obtained and verified by NPR and WFYI from the health authorities of the state of Indiana show that Bernard was authorized to report the matter to the state health agencies.

In an emailed statement, Rokita said his office is “collecting evidence from multiple sources and agencies related to this matter.

Bernard did not immediately respond to a request for comment — but spoke to WFYI moments after Roe was defeated on June 24.

“I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen who don’t want to have an abortion, they’re doing it because it’s the only choice they have,” said Bernard, with tears in his eyes. They can’t feed their families, they can’t go to work. They cannot continue their studies, they cannot leave the abuser who is in their midst because of this pregnancy.”

Bernard’s attorney, Indianapolis-based Kathleen DeLaney, said Friday that she had sent Rokita to resign on behalf of her client, calling Rokita’s comments to Fox News “false and defamatory.”

“Furthermore, to the extent that any statement you make exceeds your authority as Attorney General of Indiana, such statement constitutes the basis for a conviction,” a cease and desist letter it says. “We are especially concerned that, because of the political controversy that has been said, such cases could cause violence or violence from the public that would prevent Dr. Bernard, a licensed physician in Indiana, from helping him. [patients] normally.”

This is not the first time abortion providers like Bernard have been harassed and threatened across the country over the years. A report from the National Abortion Federation found that assaults on abortion clinic staff and patients increased 128 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year. The data also shows a 6-fold increase in hacking incidents, and a 4-fold increase in blockades.

Bernard told WFYI that he and his family were threatened several years ago while working in Louisville, Kentucky.

“There was an internet problem [against] a hospital provider in Louisville, Kentucky, where I work for Planned Parenthood,” he said. “They threatened to steal their daughter so that she would not have an abortion. And I am the only doctor who has a daughter.”

In 2013, police arrested a man in Bloomington after he tried to break into a Planned Parenthood building with an ax. According to police reports, the man wanted to destroy the house because the providers were “killing” the babies.

A special legislative session will begin on July 25. Indiana lawmakers are expected to ban abortion, even though legislators and Gov. Eric Holcomb did not comment on the extent of the ban.

This story is from a reporting partnership that includes the Indianapolis Recorder and Side Effects Public Media, WFYI’s health news program. Contact Farah at fyousry@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.

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