The attorney for Dr. Caitlin Bernard has filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to block Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita from accessing her patient’s medical records, citing the “irreparable harm that could be done” to patients should their medical records be disclosed.
INDIANAPOLIS — The attorney for Dr. Caitlin Bernard has filed a lawsuit against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita and the Office of the Attorney General claiming Rokita used “bogus consumer complaints” in an attempt to access patient medical records and “launch baseless investigations” against physicians.
Rokita vowed to investigate Dr. Bernard for performing an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio to Indiana to seek an abortion after the Buckeye state banned abortions after six weeks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The lawsuit asserts that Rokita ignored Indiana law and issued subpoenas for medical records based on complaints from people who have never been a patient of Dr. Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, or her medical partner Dr. Amy Caldwell, who lack any personal knowledge of their work and that provide no explanation of their validity. The records Rokita requested were of patients who did not themselves file complaints about Bernard or Caldwell, DeLaney & DeLaney LLC, the law firm representing Dr. Bernard, said in a press release.
DeLaney & DeLaney LLC added that Rokita has issued at least five subpoenas that its aware of, but there could be more as the attorney general has been sending them directly to persons and entities which may have medical records, without notifying Bernard, Caldwell or their attorneys.
The suit states that, “these improper investigations unfairly burden Plaintiffs in numerous ways, threatening not only their livelihood but also the availability of the essential services they provide to their patients.”
The lawsuit continues: “The Attorney General’s and Director’s improper conduct dissuades patients who need emergency abortions from seeking care. It also threatens patients seeking legal abortions that their most personal and private medical records and health care decisions could be exposed as part of a meritless investigation.”
FOX59 reached out to Rokita’s office for a response. They provided the following statement:
“By statutory obligation, we investigate thousands of potential licensing, privacy, and other violations a year. A majority of the complaints we receive are, in fact, from nonpatients. Any investigations that arise as a result of potential violations are handled in a uniform manner and narrowly focused. We will discuss this particular matter further through the judicial filings we make.”Kelly Stevenson
In July, Kathleen DeLaney, the attorney for Dr. Bernard, sent a cease and desist to Rokita stating he had made “false and misleading statements” about Dr. Bernard on Fox News along with in statements to local media that cast Bernard “in a false light and allege misconduct in her profession.”
The Fox News caption underneath Rokita proclaimed “Doc Failed to Report Abortion Abuse Victim,” according to the tort claim. However, FOX59 obtained documents showing that Bernard did file the report, and even filed it within the timeframe required.
Below is a copy of the full lawsuit:
Matt Christy contributed to this story.