An abortionist who made headlines after revealing publicly that a 10-year-old rape survivor crossed state lines to get an abortion claims she followed proper protocol and is moving to sue the state's attorney general over claims that he caused her "reputational harm."
In a tort claim filed Tuesday, Dr. Caitlin Bernard argued that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita made several statements to the media that he "recklessly and/or negligently failed to ascertain" were true. She intends to seek damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm and emotional distress.
"On July 14, 2022, various news outlets obtained the Terminated Pregnancy Report through public record requests, confirming that Dr. Bernard complied with reporting requirements under Indiana law," the legal document states.
Rokita said in a July 13 interview with Fox News that his office is looking into whether Bernard violated the law by failing to report the underaged abortion of a rape victim.
Indiana law requires reporting abortions for girls under the age of 16 to the state Department of Health and the state Department of Child Services within three days of the abortion.
"If she failed to report it in Indiana, it's a crime for — to not report, to intentionally not report," Rokita said.
"This is a child, and there's a strong public interest in understanding if someone under the age of 16 or under the age of 18 or really any woman is having abortion in our state. And then if a child is being sexually abused, of course parents need to know. Authorities need to know. Public policy experts need to know."
Bernard disputed Rokita's claims that she may have violated the girl's privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and failed to file the proper paperwork required for an underage abortion.
As Politico reported Tuesday, the tort claim triggers a 90-day period where the state will investigate the matter, and a lawsuit will be filed depending on their findings.
The story about the 10-year-old girl was first published by The Indianapolis Star. Bernard told the outlet on July 1 that she provided the girl with an abortion after she received a phone call from a child abuse doctor in Ohio.
Bernard reportedly received the call three days after the U.S. Supreme Court returned the abortion issue to the states and triggered an Ohio law banning abortion after six weeks.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told Fox News that the girl could have had an abortion in Ohio under the medical exception in the state's abortion law.
Last Wednesday, The Columbus Dispatch reported on the arrest of 27-year-old George Fuentes, who confessed to raping the girl on at least two occasions.
The girl recently turned 10 and is believed to have been 9 years old when the rape occurred, according to Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Dan Meyer.
According to an official filing obtained Thursday by Fox News Digital, Bernard erroneously filed a report with authorities declaring the girl's abortion but stated that the girl's 27-year-old alleged rapist was 17 years old.
An Indiana Department of Health spokesperson told The Christian Post Tuesday that "Providers must enter the age of the father, or an estimated age if the actual age is unknown, on all terminated pregnancy reports." It is unclear if Bernard knew the actual age of the alleged father.
As The New York Times reported, Bernard is said to have listed the suspect's "approximate age" as 17. The outlet reports that abortionists often make their "best guess" if a pregnancy is the result of abuse, and more details about the perpetrator are unknown to them.
The girl's mother filed a report through Franklin County Children Services on June 22, which alerted Columbus police to the girl's pregnancy. During Fuentes' Wednesday arraignment, Detective Jeffrey Huhn testified that the minor underwent a chemical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30.
Bernard also took issue with the claim made by Rokita on Fox News that she has a "history of failing to report."
"A simple [online] check [finds] that, as of July 13, 2022, Dr. Bernard's license (No. 01078719A) was active with no disciplinary history," the tort claim states. "Thus, Mr. Rokita's statements that Dr. Bernard was an 'abortion activist acting as a doctor' with a 'history of failing to report' were false."
The Christian Post reached out to Rokita's office for comment. A response was not received by press time.
Bernard was among nine abortionists that Indiana Right to Life reported in 2018 were at the center of 48 consumer complaints from parents statewide, alleging they "failed to follow the legal reporting requirements to protect young children from sex abuse."
Bernard's employer, Indiana University Health, also opened a HIPAA investigation after the abortionist let the girl's story get out to the news media. However, Bernard's tort claim indicates that IU Health stated on July 15, after further investigation, that Bernard acted "in compliance with privacy laws."