Abortion doctor takes first step toward suing AG Rokita
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Attorneys for an Indianapolis doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio have taken the first step toward a defamation lawsuit against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.
Kathleen Delaney, an attorney representing Dr. Caitlin Bernard, filed a tort claim notice with the state Tuesday against Rokita.
The notice says Dr. Bernard is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for “security costs, legal fees, reputational harm, and emotional distress” after Rokita announced his office was investigating Dr. Bernard.
Rokita announced last week that his office was investigating Dr. Bernard for potential criminal and professional violations in the case of the rape victim.
“Statements that Dr. Bernard has a ‘history of failing to report,’ which Mr. Rokita indicated would constitute a crime, made in the absence of reasonable investigation, serve no legitimate law enforcement purpose,” Delaney wrote in the tort claim. “Given the current political atmosphere in the United States, Mr. Rokita’s comments were intended to heighten public condemnation of Dr. Bernard, who legally provided legitimate medical care.”
A termination of pregnancy report obtained by News 8 from the State Department of Health showed Dr. Bernard reported the abortion to state officials within the statutory deadlines.
“Mr. Rokita’s false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct by Dr. Bernard in her profession constitute defamation per se,” Delaney wrote in the claim.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office told News 8 on Friday that, “no false or misleading statements have been made.”
The tort claim starts a 90-day review process by the state of Indiana that could lead to the filing of a defamation lawsuit by Dr. Bernard.
“Attorney General Rokita and the Office of Attorney General are leaders in the pro-life movement. His historic work has further distinguished Indiana as a protector of unborn life and women. This is part of a divisive narrative and an attempt to distract from the important work of the office, including the duty to determine whether practitioners have violated the standards of practice in his or her profession, as well as federal and state laws. We will defend against baseless claims.”
Kelly Stevenson, spokesperson, Office of the Attorney General Todd Rokita