Monday, October 2, 2023

The Indiana AG is suing the hospital system over the privacy of an Ohio girl who traveled for an abortion

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s attorney general is suing the state’s largest hospital system, accusing it of violating patient privacy laws when a doctor publicly told the story of an Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Indianapolis, marked Attorney General Todd Rokita’s latest decision to take disciplinary action against Dr. Caitlin Bernard to initiate. The doctor’s account of a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana to obtain abortion drugs became a flashpoint in the abortion debate. Days after the United States Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade last summer.

“Neither the 10-year-old girl nor her mother gave the doctor permission to speak to the media about her case,” the lawsuit says. “Instead of protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor and itself.”

Indiana University Health and IU Healthcare Associates are named in the lawsuit. It alleged that the hospital system violated HIPPA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and a state law by failing to protect patient information.

Indiana’s medical regulator reprimanded Bernardo in May, saying he violated privacy laws by speaking publicly about the girl’s treatment. It fell far short of the medical license suspension sought by Rokita’s office.

Still, the panel’s decision drew widespread criticism from medical groups and others, who called it a measure to intimidate doctors.

Hospital system officials have argued that Bernard did not violate privacy laws.

“We remain disappointed that the Indiana Attorney General’s Office continues to use the state’s limited resources on this matter,” IU Health said in a statement. “We will respond directly to the Attorney General’s Office regarding the filing.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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