INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed charges against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita for violating professional conduct Monday.
Rokita had previously sued Indiana University Health, the state's largest hospital system, for violating patient privacy laws when a doctor publicly shared the story of an Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion.
The commission's complaint alleges the comments he made about doctor Caitlin Bernard on a Fox News show violated professional conduct.
On the show, Rokita made multiple comments the commission found alerting such as, "This is a horrible, horrible scene. Caused, caused by Marxists, socialists and those in the White House who don't, who want lawlessness at the border," according to court documents.
The charges claim Rokita violated Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6(a) and 4.4(a) for referring to Bernard as an "abortion activist acting as a doctor—with a history of failure to report" while there was an investigation pending. Rokita faces a third charge of making public statements about Bernard between July 2022 and September 2022 prior to a referral to the Medical Licensing Board.
Rokita shared the following statement Monday regarding the charges:
“Hoosiers, in the largest number on record, elected me Attorney General because they knew they were getting a passionate fighter who — like them — is beating back the culture of death, grievance and transanity being pushed by radicals in workplaces, schools, media and government.
This work certainly includes vindicating vulnerable children (our most precious gift) for having their privacy rights unlawfully violated — without consent — by healthcare providers to further their political agenda and their ‘bottom line.’ I won’t stop in this and my other work.
These same radicals have fostered an environment that 'cancels' non-compliant citizens through intimidation as well as tactics that can weaponize our respected institutions. So, today, I am filing a response to the complaint also filed today that stemmed from grievances which mainly referenced media reports. It will be public record once filed. Below are highlights from the forthcoming response. My response includes information unreported by the media. Beyond that, I remain responsible for everything my office and I do and say. And like everything, I see this situation as an opportunity to learn and improve for the next time.
I am seeking re-election, and in the meantime, I will keep working for the people of Indiana, like protecting our 2nd Amendment, publishing the Parents' Bill of Rights, enforcing the rule of law, handling more than 1,000 appeals cases filed by criminals each year and securing nearly $1 billion for Hoosier taxpayers.
We will continue defending Indiana’s laws and ensure that licensed medical professionals and other healthcare providers are held accountable when they violate their patients’ privacy and fail to obtain consent.”
The near-total abortion ban recently took effect after legal battles.
“Neither the 10-year-old nor her mother gave the doctor authorization to speak to the media about their case,” the lawsuit against IU Health says. “Rather than protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor, and itself.”
The lawsuit named IU Health and IU Healthcare Associates. It alleged the hospital system violated HIPPA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and a state law for not protecting the patient’s information.
Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to Rokita suing IU Health.
“Once again, we see AG Rokita engaged in harassment against health care providers,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai'i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. “AG Rokita is in the hot seat for his witch hunt against Dr. Caitlin Bernard, and in an attempt to save himself, has filed a lawsuit against Indiana University for supporting their provider for doing her job. Rokita’s aggressive anti-abortion antics, in pursuit of five minutes of fame, have landed him the attention he finally deserves: charges filed by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission for misconduct in relation to his attacks against Dr. Bernard. Rokita's flame fanning at the expense of a 10-year-old rape survivor has hurt Hoosiers long enough, now he’s the one getting burned.”
Indiana’s medical licensing board reprimanded Bernard in May, saying she didn’t abide by privacy laws by talking publicly about the girl’s treatment. It was far short of the medical license suspension that Rokita’s office sought.
Still, the board's decision received widespread criticism from medical groups and others who called it a move to intimidate doctors.
Hospital system officials have argued that Bernard didn’t violate privacy laws.
“We continue to be disappointed the Indiana Attorney General’s office persists in putting the state’s limited resources toward this matter,” IU Health said in a statement. “We will respond directly to the AG’s office on the filing.”
In July, a 28-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for the child's rape.