Health Care

Indiana sues hospital system over support of doctor who provided abortion services to 10-year-old Ohio girl

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) has filed a lawsuit against the health system where a 10-year-old Ohio girl received abortion services last year after being denied in her home state, alleging the institution failed to enforce HIPAA.

In July 2022, Indiana OB-GYN Caitlin Bernard, employed by IU Health, garnered national attention after sharing with the Indianapolis Star her account of providing abortion services to a 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had been raped.

This story quickly drew the ire of conservatives, including Rokita, who accused Bernard of failing to abide by Indiana patient privacy and mandatory reporting laws.

Rokita filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board against Bernard, alleging the physician violated her patient’s privacy. The board ultimately determined Bernard violated privacy laws and issued a reprimand and a $3,000 fine against her.

Throughout this conflict, IU Health maintained Bernard followed Indiana’s abortion reporting laws, and it would later state it disagreed with the licensing board’s decision.

But in a Friday statement, Rokita alleged the health system violated numerous laws by supporting Bernard, accusing it of failing to prevent HIPAA violations in various ways and of being deceptive to consumers.

“We are requesting that the court issue a permanent injunction to prevent IU Health and the other defendants from continuing to violate HIPAA and for the maximum amount of fines, restitutions, penalties and damages allowed by law and that includes violations of Indiana’s medical privacy laws,” Rokita said in a statement.

When reached for comment, the company said in a statement, “At IU Health, we hold ourselves accountable every day for providing quality healthcare and securing privacy for our patients. We continue to be disappointed the Indiana Attorney General’s office persists in putting the state’s limited resources toward this matter. We will respond directly to the AG’s office on the filing.”

Tags abortion Caitlin bernard indiana Todd Rokita Todd Rokita