Bernard warned that the attorney general’s claims she did not report she performed an abortion on the 10-year-old victim were false and defamatory. Her lawyers contended she had complied with applicable reporting laws and that the attorney general’s remarks could mislead her patients.
“We are especially concerned that, given the controversial political context of the statements, such inflammatory accusations have the potential to incite harassment or violence from the public,” the cease and desist letter reads. “Please cease and desist from making false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession, which constitute defamation per se.”
Rokita announced plans Wednesday to investigate whether Bernard breached state reporting laws by not divulging the fact that she had performed an abortion on the 10-year-old rape victim.
A review from her employer, Indiana University Health, concluded that she was not in any violation of any state privacy laws, the institution announced Friday. Bernard’s lawyers hinted at taking legal action against Rokita before sending the cease and desist letter.
Rokita noted his inquiry would “remain open,” even after reports indicated Bernard filed the required disclosure forms on July 2 in compliance with state law.
Bernard treated a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who was allegedly raped by a 27-year-old man whose last known apartment was located in Columbus. That man has since been charged for the alleged rape.
Against the backdrop of Ohio’s recently enacted abortion laws, the 10-year-old girl reportedly crossed state lines into Indiana in pursuit of an abortion. Ohio restricts abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks of gestation. The law was allowed to go into effect after the Supreme Court overturned precedents first established in Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion.
Reports promoted by President Joe Biden and others indicated the girl was brought to neighboring Indiana about a week after the landmark Supreme Court ruling because she could not obtain the abortion legally in the Buckeye State. She was six weeks and three days pregnant at the time, the Indianapolis Star reported. The state’s abortion restriction does not contain an exception for instances of rape.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has disputed the notion that she could not legally obtain an abortion in Ohio, pointing to the state’s medical emergency exception in its abortion restriction. However, some doctors have cast doubt on Yost’s assessment, arguing they did not believe adolescent pregnancy was covered by the state’s medical emergency exception.
The Washington Examiner reached out to a spokesperson for Rokita for comment.
Gerson Fuentes, 27, who is accused of raping the 10-year-old, was arrested Tuesday and confessed to the crime, according to police. He was an illegal immigrant and could face deportation, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Washington Examiner. Fuentes is facing a first-degree felony charge for rape.
The 10-year-old’s mother has disputed reports about Fuentes and her daughter, insisting that her daughter is “fine” and that “everything they say about” him is a “lie,” she told a Telemundo reporter.
Reporting by The Washington Examiner.