The doctor who performed an abortion for a 10-year-old girl sued Indiana’s attorney general on Nov. 3, alleging violated state law when he started investigating her.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, said at the time that he was investigating whether Bernard reported the abortion and/or the abuse, saying her license could be revoked if she failed to follow the law.
Rokita failed to find legitimate complaints from people with any relationship to Bernard, according to the new complaint.
Indiana law lets people file consumer complaints against certain professionals, including doctors, and the attorney general can investigate many complaints but the law says complaints must be assessed as having merit for an investigation to start.
“The Attorney General has wholly ignored the General Assembly’s fine-tuned structure for handling consumer complaints regarding licensed professionals and has engaged in precisely the type of overbearing, harassing conduct that the General Assembly sought to prohibit,” the complaint states. “The Attorney General has completely ignored the requirement to determine that consumer complaints have ‘merit’ before he can investigate and has instead used facially invalid consumer complaints to justify multiple, duplicative, and overbroad investigations into law-abiding physicians—investigations which are intended neither to identify violations of law nor to resolve disputes between regulated professionals and bona fide consumers.”
Dr. Amy Caldwell joined Bernard in the suit.
“By statutory obligation, we investigate thousands of potential licensing, privacy, and other violations a year. A majority of the complaints we receive are, in fact, from nonpatients. Any investigations that arise as a result of potential violations are handled in a uniform manner and narrowly focused,” Kelly Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Rokita, told The Epoch Times via email. “We will discuss this particular matter further through the judicial filings we make.”
Did Not Violate HIPAA
Rokita had also alleged a possible violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that prohibits disclosing certain patient information.
Bernard spoke about the abortion to a news outlet, giving the patient’s age and state of residence.
Indiana University later determined that Bernard did not violate HIPAA.
The conduct by the attorney general “dissuades patients who need emergency abortions from seeking care,” the new suit alleges.
“It also threatens patients seeking legal abortions that their most personal and private medical records and health care decisions could be exposed as part of a meritless investigation.”
It was filed in Indiana Commercial Court.
The court was asked to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction blocking Rokita and an official in his office from investigating any consumer complaint unless they determine the complaint has merit; from issuing subpoenas in connection with such an investigation unless the complaint is assessed as having merit; and from violating confidentiality provisions in the law.