The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) on Monday, alleging his public statements following news of an OB-GYN providing abortion services to a 10-year-old Ohio girl amounted to misconduct.
Indiana doctor Caitlin Bernard made national news last year in sharing her story of providing abortion services to a 10-year-old girl who was raped and then denied service in Ohio. Rokita in November alleged Bernard had failed to file the necessary reports required in Indiana and that she violated patient privacy rules.
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Rokita’s office opened an investigation into Bernard based on several complaints it had received. None of the complaints was filed by patients of Bernard.
The disciplinary complaint against Rokita cited an interview on Fox News that he gave soon after opening an investigation into Bernard in which he discussed the case, calling Bernard an “abortion activist acting as a doctor.”
The complaint cited rules of conduct for Indiana attorneys which state that a lawyer who is participating in an investigation may not make extrajudicial statements which they know will be “disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjunctive proceeding.”
It also pointed to Indiana state law that restricts a person “in the employ of the office of attorney general” from disclosing information about the complaint unless it is required by law, in the interest of advancing the investigation or disclosed to a relevant law enforcement agency.
Rokita later filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board against Bernard. Bernard was later found to have violated patient privacy laws, receiving a reprimand and a fine.
The complaint accused Rokita of three counts of violating rules of conduct. The commission has requested the attorney general be disciplined “as warranted for professional misconduct” and that he be ordered to pay relevant court fees.
In a Monday statement, Rokita pushed back on the allegations, arguing that confidentiality was not warranted when it came to his office’s investigation of Bernard and that his public statements on the matter were a reflection of his commitment to fulfilling the official duties of his office.
He also argued that as an elected official, he has a duty to keep the public informed of what his office doing and what decisions are being made. He further claimed the public interest generated around Bernard was not his responsibility.
“Hoosiers, in the largest number on record, elected me Attorney General because they knew they were getting a passionate fighter who — like them — is beating back the culture of death, grievance and transanity being pushed by radicals in workplaces, schools, media and government,” Rokita stated.
“This work certainly includes vindicating vulnerable children (our most precious gift) for having their privacy rights unlawfully violated — without consent — by healthcare providers to further their political agenda and their ‘bottom line.’ I won’t stop in this and my other work.”
These charges against him come just days after Rokita filed a lawsuit against IU Health over its support of Bernard, its employee, accusing the hospital system of failing to prevent HIPAA violations and of deceiving consumers.