Indiana's AG Todd Rokita, apparently searching to punish a doctor for offering critical medical care to a 10-year-old, has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Caitlin Bernard and the healthcare organization she works for. Rokita alleges Bernard violated her patient's privacy in part by including limited information in a complaint against Rokita for harassing medical doctors.
The snake is really eating its tail here, Rokita could get this privacy violation out of the national news by dropping his complaint — but what he really seeks here is to harass a doctor. Remember this all starts with Republicans wanting to deny a 10-year-old the care she needs after being raped. They wanted to force a 10-year-old to carry the baby to term.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed suit on Friday in federal court against the hospital system that employs Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the abortion provider who treated an unidentified, then-10-year-old rape victim from Ohio in the days after Roe fell. Rokita contends that Indiana University Health (IUH) and IU Healthcare Associates violated federal HIPPA law and state-level privacy law by standing by Bernard, who confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that she had treated a 10-year-old pregnant rape victim…
The lawsuit contends that because Bernard disclosed a date "more specific than the year," it is a breach of patient privacy. The lawsuit also says Bernard broke patient confidentiality during her November 2022 complaint against Rokita, where she accused him of overstepping his authority and repeatedly harassing licensed medical doctors who provide abortions, because "there was no court order permitting IUH to disclose the patient's records" that were partially submitted into evidence. (That action was later voluntarily dismissed by Bernard and her fellow plaintiff.)
The lawsuit requests a jury trial, so we'll have to wait to see what kind of resolution the courts might provide.
Rokita's office is also upset that journalists did their jobs, essentially. The lawsuit contends that because Bernard initially confirmed the details, Indianapolis Star journalists were able to request the specific state data on abortions performed that week, in order to confirm what she told them. If the Indiana Attorney General's Office is upset with the continued media coverage, it should do some soul searching: Rokita has focused on Bernard and the girl's case for more than a year, keeping this alleged privacy violation in national news outlets.