Indiana doctor who provided abortion services to 10-year-old rape victim reported procedure to health department, documents show



CNN

Indiana’s Republican attorney general said Thursday that authorities in his state are investigating — for potential failure to report procedure and child abuse — a doctor who said he recently helped a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio to have an abortion in Indiana, even though the attack had already been reported by the girl’s mother and Ohio police were investigating.

Indianapolis-based obstetrician Dr. Caitlin Bernard reported the abortion procedure to the Indiana Department of Health on July 2, three days after the abortion, as required by the department, according to documents obtained from the Department of Health. agency by CNN. .

Bernard told CNN earlier this month that she helped the girl after Ohio banned abortions as young as six weeks gestation following the US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. The girl was raped in early May and Columbus police were first alerted to her pregnancy on June 22, according to police documents and court testimony. A little over a week later, the girl had an abortion in Indiana.

According to Indiana law, an abortion procedure performed on a person under the age of 16 must be reported to the state health department as well as the Department of Children’s Services within three days of abortion.

In a statement Thursday, Attorney General Todd Rokita said he was investigating whether Bernard reported the abortion and abuse, as required by Indiana law. Rokita first made the announcement Wednesday on Fox News.

“Failure to do so is a felony in Indiana, and his behavior could also affect his license. Additionally, if a HIPAA violation has occurred, it may also affect subsequent steps. I will not give in in the pursuit of truth,” Rokita said in the statement.

HIPAA — or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — sets privacy standards for protecting patients’ personal medical information.

Since obtaining the documents Bernard filed with the Health Department, CNN has followed Rokita’s office and they released an additional statement: “As we have indicated, we are collecting evidence from multiple sources and related agencies. to these allegations. Our legal review remains open.

CNN contacted the Indiana State Department of Children’s Services to find out if Bernard also filed the report with their office.

In a statement, Bernard’s attorney said his client “took all appropriate and appropriate steps consistent with the law and her medical and ethical training as a physician.”

“She followed all relevant policies, procedures and regulations in this matter, as she does every day to provide the best possible care to her patients,” attorney Kathleen DeLaney said. “She did not break any laws, including patient confidentiality laws, and she was not disciplined by her employer.”

CNN has reached out to the Ohio Attorney General for comment.

A Columbus, Ohio man was charged this week with raping the girl, according to court filings obtained by CNN via affiliate WBNS.

Gerson Fuentes, 27, was arrested Tuesday, according to Columbus police and court documents. He was charged with rape of a minor under the age of 13, according to the municipal court of the county of Franklin. Fuentes is being held on $2 million bond after his first court appearance on Wednesday, the court heard. CNN has reached out to his attorney for comment.

The case attracted international attention. Bernard told CNN in early July that she helped the Ohio girl get an abortion in Indiana after she was contacted by a child abuse doctor in neighboring Ohio. The girl was six weeks and three days pregnant, the doctor said on July 4.

Since then, U.S. politicians have referenced those details, with some Democrats pointing it out following the landmark Supreme Court ruling, while some Republicans have expressed doubts about the case or the very existence. the girl.

Fuentes confessed to police on Tuesday that he raped the girl at least twice, Det. Jeffrey Huhn testified Wednesday at Fuentes’ arraignment. He “spoke to us and admitted to having vaginal intercourse with the victim on no less than two occasions” and was then arrested, he said.

Police were first alerted to the child’s pregnancy in late June through a referral by a local Children’s Services department which was made by the 10-year-old’s mother, a Huhn said. The incident reported to police happened on May 12, according to a police affidavit. Columbus police were notified on June 22 and began their investigation that day.

The girl had a medical abortion in Indianapolis on June 30, Huhn testified.

On July 6, the girl identified Fuentes as her attacker, and police on Tuesday with a search warrant obtained a saliva DNA sample from Fuentes, the affidavit states. Fuentes went to police headquarters that day for questioning where he confessed to raping the minor, he said.

DNA from the Indianapolis clinic was tested against samples from Fuentes and the child’s siblings, the detective said.

Fuentes’ next court appearance will be on July 22, according to court documents. He is an undocumented immigrant, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to CNN.

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