A doctor who drew national attention in the United States for revealing she had performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim was reprimanded and fined by a medical board for violating patient privacy laws.
The state of Indiana’s Medical Licensing Board found gynaecologist Caitlin Bernard had violated privacy laws when she spoke publicly about the case without the consent of the patient or her guardian. It voted to fine her $3,000 while allowing her to continue practising medicine.
At the nearly 13-hour hearing Thursday, the board dismissed two other allegations in the complaint filed by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, finding Bernard had not violated laws about reporting suspected child abuse and had not failed to stay informed of relevant reporting and privacy laws.
The board issued no restrictions on her practice of medicine.
The case highlighted the sharp political divide over abortion in the US, and the challenges healthcare providers face in the wake of last June’s US Supreme Court decision to overturn the Roe v Wade precedent that had protected abortion under federal law, leaving regulation to the states.
That decision put into effect an Ohio law that prohibited abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, and that made no exception for rape or incest.