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Indiana’s attorney general is engaged in a ‘defamation’ campaign, says lawyer for doctor who performed abortion on 10-year-old rape victim

A woman holds a placard saying “abortion is healthcare” during an abortion rights rally. About 100 people attended the rally, which was organized in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the right to abortion access.

Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • An attorney for Dr. Caitlin Bernard has accused Indiana’s attorney general of “defamation.”
  • Bernard performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.
  • Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita falsely suggested she had not reported the incident.

An attorney for the doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim is demanding that Indiana’s Republican attorney general quit making “false and misleading” comments about her client after he wrongly suggested the medical procedure had not been properly reported to legal authorities.

In a cease-and-desist letter sent Friday, first reported by NPR, an attorney for Dr. Caitlin Bernard accused Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita of making false comments that “constitute defamation.” Bernard is considering legal action against Rokita, the lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, said earlier on Friday.

A spokesperson for Rokita told Insider that his office would review the letter when it’s received. “Regardless, no false or misleading statements have been made,” they asserted.

While defamation is a legal claim that a court would need to assess, Rokita did tell a national television audience that he suspected Bernard may have committed a crime. Prosecutors typically avoid such suggestions before charging a suspect or completing their investigation.

In a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, Rokita announced that he was planning to investigate Bernard, suggesting that the OB-GYN had not reported the abortion on the child. A resident of Ohio, the child who was forced to go to Indiana for the medical procedure due to her own state’s restrictive abortion law — triggered by the US Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade — which generally prohibits the termination of a pregnancy after six weeks.

“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure, if she failed to report,” Rokita said. “In Indiana, it’s a crime to intentionally not report.”

In fact, Bernard had reported the abortion within three days of the procedure, The Washington Post reported.

Nevertheless, in a statement issued earlier on Friday, a spokesperson said the attorney general was still “gathering evidence” related to the case.

The decision to investigate Bernard — Rokita this week labeled her an “abortion activist acting as a doctor” — comes after prominent Republicans, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, accused her of making up the story, which was reported by the Indianapolis Star and later cited by President Joe Biden as a consequence of eliminating federal protections for abortion.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost had likewise said there was “not a damn scintilla of evidence,” claiming the story was a likely “fabrication.”

He later celebrated the arrest of a 27-year-old man accused of sexual assault in the case.

“We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets,” he told The Columbus Dispatch.

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