INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general has sued the state’s largest hospital system, claiming it violated patient privacy laws when a doctor publicly told the story of an Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion was.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Indianapolis, was against Attorney General Todd Rokita last try to take disciplinary action against him Caitlin Bernard. The doctor’s report about a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to Indiana to receive abortion drugs became one Focal point of the abortion debate Days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.
Rokita, a Republican, is a staunch anti-abortion activist Indiana was the first state To approve abortion restrictions after the court decision. The almost complete ban on abortion recently came into force after legal disputes.
“Neither the 10-year-old nor her mother gave the doctor permission to speak to the media about her case,” the lawsuit says. “Instead of protecting the patient, the hospital chose to protect the doctor and itself.”
Indiana University Health and IU Healthcare Associates were named in the lawsuit. It alleged that the hospital system violated HIPPA, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and a state law by failing to protect patient information.
Indiana Medical Licensing Board Bernard chided in May and said she had not followed privacy laws by speaking publicly about the girl’s treatment. Rokita’s office’s move to suspend her medical license was far from enough.
Still, the panel’s decision drew widespread criticism from medical groups and others, who called it an attempt to intimidate doctors.
Hospital system officials have argued that Bernard did not violate privacy laws.
“We remain disappointed that the Indiana Attorney General’s Office continues to devote the state’s limited resources to this matter,” IU Health said in a statement. “We will respond to the AG’s office directly on the filing.”
In July, a 28-year-old man was killed sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the child.