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Dr. Caitlin Barnard, who aborted 10-year-old rape victim, sues Indiana Attorney General

Washington — Dr. Caitlin Barnard, Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist The man who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio is suing Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, alleging he relied on “baseless” consumer complaints to launch an “overbroad” investigation into physicians providing abortion care. have issued summons, seeking confidential medical records of their patients.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Kathleen Delaney, on behalf of Barnard and his medical partner Dr. Amy Caldwell in Indiana Commercial Court in Marion County, claims that Rokita began an investigation into seven Consumer complaints filed against Bernard came days after the Supreme Court came under scrutiny for performing drug-induced abortions on June 30 inverse roe vs wade,

Barnard came into the national limelight after telling the Indianapolis Star that a child abuse doctor in Ohio called her about a 10-year-old pregnant who was seeking an out-of-state abortion because of Ohio’s almost-complete abortion ban. there was a man Arrested And two weeks later accused of rape. Ohio’s abortion law, which prohibits the procedure when a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, took effect After the Supreme Court issued a ruling to reverse the row.

in one Interview With “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Nora O’Donnell in July, Bernard couldn’t confirm that she provided an abortion because of privacy laws, but state records confirmed she did, and on Thursday Reference was made to her “providing abortion care” in her lawsuit filed. to this patient.”

After launching an investigation into the complaints, Barnard’s attorneys said Rokita and Scott Barnhart, director of the consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s office, issued “extensively comprehensive document summons” to a hospital system in August that sought to cover the child’s entirety. Medical file was requested. The summons, he wrote, “serves no legitimate investigative purpose.”

“The attorney general and director’s unfair conduct precludes patients who require emergency abortions,” he told the court. “It also threatens patients seeking legal abortion that their most personal and private medical records and health care decisions may be exposed as part of a qualifying investigation.”

In addition to the investigation into Barnard, the suit claims that Rokita also began an investigation into Caldwell’s actions in May based on a consumer complaint filed on the basis of a “termination of pregnancy report” that required all abortions performed in the state, which was obtained through an open record request.

In late July, Rokita served Caldwell with a summons for all medical records related to the patient identified in the report, and in October, issued a summons to a local health care clinic seeking medical records for the same patient. Of. Neither Caldwell nor the patient were informed of the summons.

Barnard’s lawyers said they are aware of at least five summonses issued by Rokita’s office, but believe there may be more because they are being sent to entities that have There may be medical records.

“The attorney general’s demand for these irrelevant medical records poses a significant threat to patient confidentiality and to the confidentiality of medical records,” he said. “Since they lack the information to document summons, physicians like Dr. Bernard and Caldwell cannot take steps to ensure that the most confidential and personal information of their patients is protected.”

Barnard and Caldwell are asking the court to restrain Rokita and her office from launching an investigation without assessing the merits of each consumer complaint, and to prevent the attorney general from issuing summons in connection with the investigation based on the consumer complaint. without determining whether it has merit.

Rokita spokeswoman Kelly Stevenson said the attorney general’s office investigates “thousands” of potential licensing, privacy and other violations each year, as mandated by state law.

Stevenson said in a statement to CBS News, “Most of the complaints we receive are, in fact, from non-patients. Any investigations that arise as a result of potential breaches are handled in a uniform and narrow manner. is focused.” “We will discuss this particular case further through judicial filings.”

After Bernard’s involvement became public over the summer, top Republicans accused him of lying about the incident, and Rokita pledged to investigate whether he violated state law, which required doctors to perform the procedure. Abortions performed on patients under 16 within three days are required to be reported. Referring to Bernard as an “abortion worker working as a doctor”, Rokita said she had asked Bernard for documents complying with Indiana’s requirements and asked if she failed to do so. So his license may be affected.

Records obtained by CBS News, and cited in the lawsuit, show that Bernard submitted a required termination report of pregnancy on July 2, two days after she miscarried the 10-year-old. According to court filings, communications with the report included information that Bernard was cooperating with authorities investigating the girl’s rape.

A 27-year-old Ohio man was arrested and charged up with the rape in mid-July, and police said he had confessed to his crime. A detective with Columbus, Ohio, police testified that law enforcement learned of the girl’s pregnancy through a referral made to Franklin County Children’s Services on June 22, and the abortion was performed on June 30 in Indianapolis.

Barnard and Caldwell’s lawsuit accused Rokita of launching its investigation based on “frivolous” complaints and subsequently issuing subpoenas, in violation of Indiana’s statutory framework for investigating consumer complaints against licensed medical providers.

Seven people filed consumer complaints against Bernard between July 8 and July 12, according to the suit, days after it appeared as a doctor performing an abortion on an Ohio girl. Submissions were made by several people who did not claim to live in Indiana, and all said they saw news or social media posts about Barnard’s patient.

Barnard’s lawyers wrote, “The face of consumer complaints shows allegations based on rumour, rumor or speculation.”

In one complaint, a section seeking “incident details,” a man wrote to Bernard “having knowledge of the rape of a 10-year-old girl from authorities,” suggesting that she failed to comply with Indiana’s reporting requirement. , according to a copy cited in the lawsuit. The man also included vague contact information for Bernard, listing his address as “You of Eye” and phone number as a series of five.

Another complaint referred to Bernard’s television appearance with links to an MSNBC interview and wrote that “As a citizen of Ohio, I believe this misinformation (aka LIE) has damaged the image of my state.” And this is a malicious act aimed at harming people like me who are in pro-life status.”

The anonymous complainant continued: “I personally experienced hostility against me, with special mention of Dr. Bernard’s interviews and his claim that a 10-year-old Ohio girl was forced to an abortion at Barnard’s Indiana Clinic. If I am constantly harassed. That is how I will file a personal injury case against Dr. Bernard.”

According to the lawsuit, the filing also included a photo showing online search results about abortion, with red flags pointing to Bernard’s name.

In the third complaint cited in Barnard’s lawsuit, the filer is asked “what was the earliest contact between you and the person/business,” and, next to the “Others” checked box, “reported in the US media and the president.” Gone” was written. United States.”

Barnard’s lawyers wrote, “These consumer complaints were valid on the face and no reasonable prosecutor could determine that they had merit.”

One of the additional complaints that gave rise to an investigation by the Indiana Attorney General’s office was based on “news stories” that claimed Bernard “failed to report sexual abuse in a child,” and that another accused Bernard of Said without naming, “Doctor did not report 10 years of rape brought to Indy from Ohio enemy [sic] abortion.” According to the court filing, the complainant listed himself as the entity against whom the complaint was filed and provided a phone number of “317”.

“The Attorney General and Director opened multiple investigations into Dr. Bernard despite the obvious shortcomings in all consumer complaints and the fact that publicly available information indicated that the complaints were frivolous,” argued Barnard’s attorneys, in the termination of pregnancy report. citing he filed, pursuant to Indiana law.

Indiana became first state to pass An almost complete ban on abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to abortion. In August the state legislature approved the law, which includes exceptions in cases of rape, incest and protecting the mother’s life. The ban took effect on September 15, but the Indiana Supreme Court stopped it from being implemented after abortion providers challenged the measure in state court, arguing that it violates the state’s constitution.

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