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Attorney General Todd Rokita facing discipline charges for comments on Dr. Caitlin Bernard

On a national talk show, Rokita called Bernard an "abortion activist acting as a doctor" with a "history of failing to report."
Indiana Governor
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Posted at 11:31 AM, Sep 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 08:15:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission has filed charges against Attorney General Todd Rokita over comments he made on a national talk show regarding an investigation into a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl.

Rokita, according to documents filed Monday by the commission, violated confidentiality laws when he told Fox News talk show host Jesse Watters that his office was investigating IU Health OBGYN, Dr. Caitlin Bernard.

"By making public comments about the investigation of Dr. Bernard prior to filing an administrative complaint with the medical licensing board, respondent, violated the confidentiality requirements," wrote Adrienne Meiring, the commission's executive director.

Shortly after the fall of Roe v. Wade, Bernard drew national attention after last year after she told a newspaper reporter that she performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who from Ohio who came to Indianapolis for the procedure.

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The commission is seeking to sanction Rokita's law license over several public comments, including his July 13, 2022, interview with Watters in which he called Bernard an "abortion activist acting as a doctor" with a "history of failing to report."

Rokita's office filed charges against Bernard on Nov. 30, 2022.

State law bars the attorney general from discussing an investigation into a doctor's alleged misconduct before that doctor has been officially charged, the commission said.

The commission also claims that Rokita's "comments caused irreparable harm to Dr. Bernard's reputation" and "caused additional systems and logistical issues for the medical licensing board to navigate."

In an emailed statement Monday, Rokita refuted the charges and vowed to fight against "radicals (who) have fostered an environment that 'cancels' non-compliant citizens through intimidation as well as tactics that can weaponize our respected institutions."

In the statement, Rokita vowed to continue holding medical professionals and other licensed heath care providers accountable, but he also accepted responsibility for his words and actions.

"I remain responsible for everything my office and I do and say," Rokita said. "And like everything, I see this situation as an opportunity to learn and improve for the next time."

The Indiana Supreme Court justices will ultimately determine whether Roikita violated the law and will determine any punishment he might receive.

If Rokita is found to have violated the law, he could see sanctions ranging from a private reprimand to a revocation or suspension of his law license.

Last week, Rokita's office sued IU Health and IU Healthcare Associates claiming they failed to properly report, review and enforce federal patient-confidentiality laws.

In May, the Indiana Licensing Board found that Bernard violated privacy laws when she spoke to the media about the 10-year-old's abortion. The board gave the doctor a written reprimand and ordered her to pay a $3,000 fine

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at or on Twitter: @vicryc.

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