The lawyer for an Indiana doctor who has found herself at the center of a political firestorm after revealing the story of a 10-year-old girl who traveled from Ohio for an abortion said Thursday that her client provided proper treatment and did not violate any patient privacy laws in discussing the case.
Attorney Kathleen DeLaney issued the statement on behalf of Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist Caitlin Bernard the same day Republican Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said his office was investigating Bernard's actions. He offered no specific allegations of wrongdoing,
A 27-year-old man was charged in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday with raping the girl, thus validating the existence of a case whose veracity drew initial skepticism by some media outlets and Republican politicians. The pushback grew after Democratic President Joe Biden expressed empathy for the girl during the signing of an executive order last week aimed at protecting some abortion access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the constitutional protection for abortion.
Bernard's attorney said the physician "took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician."
"She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients," DeLaney said in a statement. "She has not violated any law, including patient privacy laws, and she has not been disciplined by her employer."
Bernard reported a June 30 medication abortion for a 10-year-old patient to the state health department on July 2, within the three-day requirement set in state law for a girl younger than 16, according to the report obtained by The Indianapolis Star and WXIN-TV of Indianapolis under public records requests. The report indicated the girl seeking the abortion had been abused.
DeLaney said they are considering taking legal action against "those who have smeared my client," including Rokita.
Some Republicans who have backed stringent abortion restrictions imposed in Ohio after the Supreme Court ruling, including Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, initially questioned whether the story relayed by Bernard to the Indianapolis Star newspaper was real. After telling Fox News on Monday that there was not "a whisper" of any evidence supporting the case's existence, Yost said his "heart aches for the pain suffered by this young child" and his investigative unit stands ready to support police in the case.
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