Dr. Caitlin Bernard—an Indiana abortion provider who made national headlines earlier this year when she publicly confirmed she treated a 10-year-old rape victim—was forced to testify in her defense this week during Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s (R) bullshit consumer complaint investigation against Bernard.
“There is no evidence of any crime being committed” in providing the child an abortion, Bernard said during her nearly 90-minute testimony on Monday, according to the Associated Press. “So there should be no investigation necessary.”
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Bernard shared with the IndyStar in July that she provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim, who was an Ohio resident but had to travel across state lines after Ohio’s early abortion ban took effect immediately following the Roe reversal. Top Fox News hosts suggested Bernard was lying and had political motivations. Jesse Watters called the story a “hoax,” and Tucker Carlson said it “turned out the story was not true.” The story was true, and the accused child rapist was arrested days later.
Following Fox’s onslaught, Bernard became a right-wing target. “I’m concerned not only for my reputation and what that might do to my employment, but also my personal safety,” Bernard told the IndyStar.
This is how anti-abortion zealots target abortion providers in a non-violent manner. Do you have enough to pay for attorneys fees? Do you think you’ll be able to get a job afterward? And that’s before we consider all the actual violence abortion providers are threatened with.
Instead of leaving this case in the past, Rokita is attempting to access the 10-year-old’s records as part of his investigation, which stems from complaints made by people who are not Bernard’s patients.
“The consumer complaints were 100% filed by people who had never met Dr. Bernard, had never gotten medical care from Dr. Bernard, were not involved in the care of this patient in any way shape or form,” Kathleen Delaney, Bernard’s attorney, said in a press conference on Friday. “They’re complaining about something that they saw on television or heard about on social media.”
Indiana Deputy Attorney General Caryn Nieman-Szyper told the court that state law requires Indiana child protective services be notified about child abuse, even if the case was already being investigated in Ohio. Officials also allege that Bernard violated state reporting requirements on abortion. However, public records show Bernard reported the abortion within three days, as state law requires.
Nieman-Szyper also said Bernard is under investigation because she publicly talked about the case, saying she had not sufficiently demonstrated that she was given permission to do so by the family.
Bernard maintained that she did not publicize identifying details, and merely shared the facts of the case: “I did say that the patient had been raped. That is how a 10-year-old becomes pregnant.”