Indianapolis doctor reported 10-year abortion as needed

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Hours after a man was accused on Wednesday of raping a 10-year-old Ohio girl, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) questioned whether the Indianapolis doctor who helped the child have an abortion had reported the procedure for government officials, as required by law. .

“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’ll fight it to the end – including looking at her license if she failed to report,” Rokita told Fox News’ Jesse Watters Wednesday night. Watters had suggested that the doctor could face “a criminal charge.”

Rokita again raised doubts Thursday in a letter to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), saying his office had requested, but not received, documentation from state authorities that the girl’s abortion had been properly reported by OB / GYN, Caitlin Bernard.

But records obtained by The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon show that Bernard actually reported the minor’s abortion to the appropriate state agencies before the statutory deadline to do so. The doctor’s lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, said in a statement to news media that Bernard “is considering legal action against those who have lubricated [her]including Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. ”

“My client, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, took any appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical education as a physician,” DeLaney said. “She followed all relevant policies, procedures and rules in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care to her patients.”

In Indiana, abortion is legal up to 22 weeks inside a pregnancy. Under state law, providers are required to report all abortions within 30 days. For patients under the age of 16, the reporting window has been cut to three days, and doctors must warn both the Indian Ministry of Health and the Department of Child Services – a way for authorities to quickly launch investigations into possible child abuse cases.

The case of the 10-year-old Ohio girl was first reported by the Indianapolis Star on July 1, a week after the Supreme Court overthrew Roe v. Wade. Although the story quickly gained international attention, it was followed by a wave of skepticism from conservative politicians, experts and the media who expressed doubts about the story. (The Post also published a fact-check that initially concluded that the girl’s abortion was a “very difficult story to check.”)

On Wednesday, however, Columbus Dispatch confirmed the account and reported that a 27-year-old man, Gerson Fuentes, had been accused of raping the girl. According to the newspaper, a detective testified in court that the girl had received an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30.

Man charged with raping 10-year-old girl who had to travel for abortion

The 10-year-old originally sought treatment from a doctor in Ohio, but was unable to receive abortion services because she was just over six weeks pregnant, which is the limit imposed by a new Ohio law. The doctor then asked Bernard for help – “and so the 10-year-old girl was soon on her way to Indiana for Bernard’s care,” Star reported.

According to the report obtained by The Post, Bernard warned the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Child Services about the girl’s abortion on July 2, noting that she had been a victim of abuse.

During his interview on Wednesday night with Fox News, Rokita also accused Bernard of having “a history of failing to report” child abuse cases – a claim that depends on allegations made by an anti-abortion group in 2018, which has since been reinforced by some conservatives businesses.

Following the arrest for raping a 10-year-old girl, the Fox News host shifts focus

That year, Indiana Right to Life claimed that nine physicians across the state, including Bernard, “failed to comply with legal reporting requirements to protect young children from sexual abuse” in 48 cases between July 2017 and May 2018.

However, these allegations appear to be well-founded. They are based on 48 cases where doctors reported abortions of minors to the Department of Health but left a field blank asking for the date the cases were reported to the Department of Child Services, according to a 2018 story in the South Bend Tribune.

Indiana Right to Life filed complaints against the doctors with the state Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Office. The outcome of the state’s investigation into the complaints is unclear. A spokeswoman for the organization said “the state is investigating,” but when asked to share related documents, she referred The Post to the state’s attorney’s office, which did not address a query about them.

The Indiana Department of Health did not respond to further requests from The Post. A review of records from DocInfo – a medical license and disciplinary information datasets from the Federation of State Medical Boards – and the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana did not reveal any disciplinary activity or license terminations against Bernard or any of the other physicians.

Rokita’s office did not respond to requests for further documentation of his allegations.

Abortion is now banned in these states. See where the laws have changed.

Katie McHugh, an OB / GYN from Indiana and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, called the allegations “baseless attacks,” emphasizing how “abortion providers are being targeted by a state that creates a threatening position that is neither legal nor appropriate” . “

“This is a waste of government time and taxpayers’ money for a political stunt that does not chase the actual criminal here,” McHugh added. “It does not even focus on the victim and instead focuses on a physician who provides legal and evidence-based care.”

Some abortion services are likely to be banned as Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature holds a special legislative session later this month. Although the details of the proposed abortion law are sparse, it is expected to closely follow a model of legislation drawn up by the Advocate General of the National Right to Life, Jim Bopp, Politico reported. Bopp’s model almost completely prohibits abortion – with one exception for cases where the pregnant woman’s life is at stake.

With Roe gone, anti-abortion lawmakers want to ban patients from crossing state borders. National political reporter Caroline Kitchener explains more. (Video: Casey Silvestri, Courtney Beesch / The Washington Post)

The restrictions may come at a time when abortion providers in Indiana are facing an increase in patients seeking the procedure. McHugh said three of the state’s nine clinics have extended their surgeries to increase their patient load by at least 50 percent since Roe was reversed. Many patients, such as the 10-year-old girl from Ohio, come from neighboring states with more restrictive laws.

“There are so many cases like that. Every abortion provider I am privileged to know has cared for patients who are pre-teen victims and impregnated with predators, ”McHugh said. “Her story is not new, and it is not something that has been invented. This just shows that restrictions and rules do not prevent abortion – they only serve to make it less safe. “

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