(CTN News) – In a case that gained national prominence weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe v. Wade, an Indianapolis doctor who gave abortion pills to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim on Monday defended her conduct in front of a court.
On the second day of a court hearing about an effort to prevent Indiana’s Republican attorney general from requesting patient medical data, Dr. Caitlin Bernard gave testimony.
According to the attorney general’s office, an investigation is being conducted to determine if Bernard correctly disclosed the girl’s instance of child abuse and whether doing so may have breached patient privacy regulations.
The Marion County judge said that she planned to decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the attorney general’s office by the end of the following week.
In late June, Bernard saw the girl in Indianapolis since she could not have an abortion in nearby Ohio.
That’s because the Supreme Court’s ruling brought Ohio’s “foetal heartbeat” statute into force. Such rules prohibit abortions starting in the sixth week of pregnancy, when heart activity may be seen in an embryo.
Before the doctor even visited the kid, according to Bernard and her attorneys, the girl’s abuse had already been reported to Ohio police and child protective services authorities.
Bernard claimed during her almost 90-minute testimony that the purpose of her case was to safeguard the girl’s privacy. “There is no proof that any crime was committed… Therefore, there shouldn’t be a need for an inquiry, Bernard stated.
Even though an investigation had already begun in Ohio, Deputy Attorney General Caryn Nieman-Szyper claimed that state law still required Indiana police and child welfare authorities to be told immediately about the abuse to determine the kid’s safety.
Some news organizations and Republican lawmakers thought Bernard’s testimony of the girl requesting an abortion was made up when he informed The Indianapolis Star about it.
While signing an executive order protecting limited abortion access, President Joe Biden expressed sympathy for the kid.
In July, Todd Rokita, Indiana’s attorney general, told Fox News that he would investigate if Bernard had broken any laws about reporting abortions or child abuse.
Public records reveal that Bernard complied with Indiana’s mandatory three-day reporting period for an abortion done on a child under the age of 16, and Rokita has continued the inquiry even though a 27-year-old man was accused in Columbus, Ohio, of raping the girl.
If Bernard hadn’t revealed the girl’s rape to a reporter to boost her campaign for abortion rights, according to Nieman-Szyper, she wouldn’t be under investigation.
Nieman-Szyper said Bernard had not shown she had the family’s consent to discuss the girl’s care in public, putting the youngster in the spotlight.
Bernard did not provide any identifying information about the child but said that she had not yet seen her when she spoke to the reporter about her as an illustration of the effects of stricter abortion regulations being implemented nationwide.
Bernard added, “I did mention that the patient had been raped. “That’s how a 10-year-old gets pregnant,” someone said.
Bernard said she disclosed the girl’s impending abortion to a social worker at Indiana University Health. She said that the employees were the ones who ensured that the child’s reports were sent to the appropriate authorities.
Judge Heather Welch of Marion County granted attorneys until Wednesday to file any more court documents.
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