Complaints on Indiana abortion doctor include people who never interacted with her, attorney says

ByRob Frehse and Christina Maxouris, CNN, CNNWire
Friday, July 29, 2022
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The order comes as Biden faces criticism from Democrats for not acting with more urgency to protect women's access to abortion.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana attorney general's investigation into an Ob-Gyn who provided abortion services to a 10-year-old Ohio girl includes six consumer complaints from people who never interacted or communicated with the doctor, her attorney says.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard helped the child in late June, after Ohio banned almost all abortions after six weeks of gestation, she told CNN earlier this month.

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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced earlier in July his office was investigating whether Bernard potentially violated reporting and privacy laws in the case. Rokita reiterated Wednesday that investigation continues despite a cease and desist letter from her attorney, who has said Bernard followed "all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations."

Kathleen DeLaney, Bernard's attorney, said in a Thursday news release the attorney general sent Bernard six letters initiating consumer complaint investigations that came from residents of California, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and one from Indiana.

"Each complaint form confirms that the person had no interaction with Dr. Bernard," DeLaney said. "None of the complaints came from a 'consumer' who purchased any goods or services from Dr. Bernard or even from a person who has had direct communication with Dr. Bernard."

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The attorney further alleged the complaints contained no first-hand knowledge and were "riddled with inaccuracies."

In response to CNN's request for comment, Rokita's office said they "don't discuss details of investigations."

"The Attorney General's office investigates a variety of consumer complaints across the Consumer Protection Division, which is a large division within the office," Kelly Stevenson, press secretary for the attorney general, said in an email. "We don't discuss the details of investigations."

DeLaney sent a cease and desist letter to the attorney general on July 15 asking him to stop "making false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession, which constitute defamation per se." Last week, Bernard's attorneys filed a tort claim notice against Rokita and his office in the first steps toward a possible defamation lawsuit for public comments he has made about Bernard.

WATCH: Ohio Attorney Gen. Dave Yost on why he questioned report of a 10-year-old being raped, who sought an abortion

Rokita on Wednesday called Bernard's defamation claim against him "baseless." "The baseless defamation claim and other accusations are really just attempts to distract, intimidate and obstruct my office's monumental progress to save lives," he told CNN in a statement.

In Thursday's release, DeLaney said the attorney general "continues to use his office to try and intimidate Dr. Caitlin Bernard. We urge Mr. Rokita to stop wasting taxpayer money and our time on his nonsensical campaign against Dr. Bernard for doing her job as a physician properly and in accordance with the law."

Under Indiana law, an abortion performed on a person younger than 16 years of age must be reported to the state's Department of Health and also to the Department of Child Services within three days of the procedure.

Bernard reported the abortion procedure to the Indiana Department of Health on July 2 -- two days after it was performed -- as required by the department, according to agency documents obtained by CNN. CNN has reached out to the Indiana Department of Child Services to inquire if Bernard also filed the report with its office.

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Bernard's employer, Indiana University Health, conducted a review in this case with Bernard's "full cooperation" and determined she was "in compliance with privacy laws," it said in a statement earlier this month.