INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana doctor is asking a judge to stop the Indiana attorney general from seeking sanctions against her medical license.
On Thursday, Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s attorneys asked a Marion County judge to make Attorney General Todd Rokita rescind an administrative complaint he filed Wednesday with the medical licensing board.
Court filings called the administrative complaint "unlawful." The doctor's legal team called the attorney general's public announcement of the complaint an attempt to "circumvent this Court’s authority and avoid its ruling on the pending Motion for Injunctive Relief."
Later Thursday, lawyers for Rokita defended its administrative complaint, pointing out the Court had yet to issue an order preventing the office from taking action against the doctor's license. A court filing states, "The Office not only had statutory authority to file the complaint, but the duty to do so when it has evidence of possible violations of the laws governing a licensee's profession." Going on to accuse Dr. Bernard of attempting to "short-circuit an investigation."
Marion County Judge Heather Welch told the parties she would likely issue an order this week addressing the injunction request. Bernard’s team was trying to stop Rokita from seeking patient medical records based off certain consumer complaints. The hearing is part of a larger lawsuit arguing the attorney general is not vetting complaints properly before launching an investigation which the doctor argues is required by state law.
Rokita accused the doctor of violating state and federal privacy laws when she told a reporter she was consulted to help a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. His office also argued Bernard violated Indiana’s child abuse reporting laws because she did not immediately report the case to law enforcement in Indiana. The attorney general's office says the fact she was working with officials in Ohio was not enough.
Bernard’s team called the complaint a “last-ditch effort to intimidate Dr. Bernard and other providers of abortion care.”
On Thursday, Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky sent out a press release in support of Bernard.
"AG Rokita is launching a politically-motivated attack on Dr. Bernard to scare abortion providers out of delivering the safe, legal care their patients deserve," stated Rebecca Gibron, the CEO of PPGNHAIK. "But his far-fetched accusations don't scare us. We've said it before: we will not be intimidated by power-hungry, extremist lawmakers like Todd Rokita. We stand behind Dr. Bernard and all abortion providers across the country who are working through extraordinarily hostile conditions."