Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. Photo provided.


Indiana Capital Chronicle

Jan. 19, 2023

The legal saga between Attorney General Todd Rokita and a doctor who provided abortion healthcare to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim continues after Rokita filed a motion to block the dismissal in order to correct an “error.”

A court ruling from that case said that Rokita violated the law during a televised appearance in which he called the healthcare provider an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.” Rokita’s filing called the judge’s order an “erroneous finding.”

Following his appearance on Fox News, the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office received complaints echoing his comments about Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis OBGYN.

“The information shared by the Attorney General with the citizenry was merely that his office was investigating suspected violations of Indiana law based on facts known to the public,” Rokita’s filing said. “The contrary finding in the Court’s Order was erroneous and should be corrected. Maintaining public confidence in the Attorney General’s adherence to the law is of vital
importance, and therefore it is also vitally important to correct an erroneous judicial finding that the Attorney General violated state law.”

Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch, in her ruling denying an injunction request by Bernard, said Rokita violated the state licensing statute’s confidentiality provision “by discussing the statutorily confidential investigation in statements to the media” before he filed the complaint against Bernard with the Medical Licensing Board.

“The Court further finds that the public disclosures by the Attorney General regarding the investigations prior to the Attorney General’s recent referral of the matter to the Medical Licensing Board constituted irreparable harm per se and that the Attorney General clearly violated Indiana law when discussing the confidential investigations in the media,” Welch wrote in her court order.

Moving forward

Bernard had sued to stop Rokita’s office from obtaining certain patient records related to her care for the 10-year-old, who sought an abortion in Indiana after her pregnancy progressed beyond the 6-week cutoff for in Ohio.

Bernard’s legal team voluntarily dismissed the case after it transitioned to an administrative licensing action before the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, scheduled to be heard next month. The court officially dismissed the case Nov. 12. Rokita filed to reopen it Jan. 9.

Kathleen DeLaney, Bernard’s attorney, didn’t respond to a request for comment on Rokita’s filing to correct the “error” but has asked the court for extra time to respond to the motion.

Indiana’s General Assembly passed a near-total abortion ban in a special legislation session over the summer – with proponents citing the 10-year-old’s case as a reason to include exemptions for rape and incest.

But two separate judges granted injunctions temporarily blocking the ban and the Indiana Supreme Court elected to hear the case themselves on Thursday. Arguments for the case start at 9 a.m.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Indiana Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Niki Kelly for questions:

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