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Indiana Reprimands Doctor Who Provided Abortion to 10-Year-Old Rape Victim (Published 2023)

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Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated the privacy of her young patient by discussing the girl's case with a reporter, the state's medical board ruled.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist practicing in Indiana, provided an abortion to a ten-year-old rape victim last year.Credit...Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The New York Times

Published May 26, 2023Updated May 28, 2023

An Indiana doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim last year violated her young patient's privacy by discussing the case with a reporter, the state's medical board ruled Thursday night.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, catapulted into the national spotlight last year after she provided an abortion for an Ohio girl soon after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which left states free to severely restrict or outlaw abortion.

The state's medical board voted to issue Dr. Bernard a letter of reprimand and a fine of $3,000. But it decided against stiffer penalties, which could have included suspension or probation, instead deciding that Dr. Bernard is fit to return to her practice.

The board also cleared her of other allegations that she failed to appropriately report the girl's rape to authorities.

The decision was the culmination of a yearlong legal pursuit of Dr. Bernard by the state's attorney general, Todd Rokita, a Republican who opposes abortion.

The Ohio girl had traveled to Indiana for the procedure after her home state enacted a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Bernard told a reporter for The Indianapolis Star about the case during an abortion rights rally. She didn't name the patient, but the case quickly became a flash point in the early, heated days of debate after the Supreme Court ruling, catching the attention of President Biden and turning conservative attention and ire toward Dr. Bernard.

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