The initial legal action in starting a defamation lawsuit has been done by attorneys for Dr. Caitlin Bernard. Todd Rokita, the attorney general of Indiana, received notification on Tuesday. The attorneys argue Rokita misrepresented Bernhard’s “history” of not informing the government about abortions. For daily email delivery of the newest tech news and scoops, subscribe to our newsletter. Tuesday, after the Indiana attorney general threatened her with inquiries and potential charges, a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim moved to bring a defamation case against him.
Attorneys for Caitlin Bernard announced in a statement that they have taken the “initial step toward perhaps initiating a defamation lawsuit against” Todd Rokita, the Republican Attorney General of Indiana.
Republican Rokita said he will look into Bernard for potential criminal charges in an interview with Fox News last week, calling her a “abortion activist posing as a doctor with a history of failing to report.”
Although a “simple check” of the state’s medical license database would have revealed that the doctor had “no disciplinary history,” much less a pattern of failing to submit reports of abortions provided to potential rape victims, as required by Indiana law, Kathleen A. DeLaney, an attorney for Bernard, wrote in a document filed on Tuesday.
The notice claims Rokita’s public remarks “constitute defamation,” accusing the attorney general of making negative remarks that singled out the doctor for performing an abortion.
After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had to travel across states for the surgery was forced to have her pregnancy terminated. President Joe Biden referred to the incident when the Indianapolis Star published it. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and other well-known Republicans afterwards asserted that Bernard made the story up.
After the state has 90 days to look into or resolve the claim following the tort notice from Tuesday, Bernard may initiate a defamation action.
The notification claims that “Mr. Rokita either knew the statements were untrue or acted with careless disregard of the truth or inaccuracy of the statements.” Given the political climate in the country right now, Mr. Rokita’s remarks were made with the intention of amplifying public criticism of Dr. Bernard, who was acting legally and providing appropriate medical care.
The legal notification was described as a “distraction” from the attorney general’s duties by a Rokita spokeswoman. They declared, “We will defend against false accusations.”