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Indiana Republican AG faces professional ethics charges related to its efforts to punish a doctor who provided abortion services to a 10-year-old rape victim.


Indiana’s Republican attorney general faces three professional ethics charges stemming from public statements he made last year about a state doctor he sought to punish for providing services abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio.

In a 56-page complaint filed Monday with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, Attorney General Todd Rokita was accused of violating three separate state rules of professional conduct for a series of public comments what he did about Dr. Caitlin Bernard.

Two of the charges relate to an interview with Fox News host Jesse Watters in which Rokita called Bernard “a pro-abortion activist acting like a doctor with a history of failing to appear.”

Rokita is also accused of “intentionally making public statements and/or directing others to make public statements between July 2022 and September 2022 regarding the investigation of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, before being referred to the Medical Licensing Board, in violation of the duty of confidentiality required under Indiana law and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

CNN has contacted Rokita’s office for comment on the disciplinary charges.

Rokita requested the dismissal of disciplinary charges against him in a filing later Monday, writing that his “statements reflect his commitment to fulfilling his official duties regardless of political sensitivity and keeping the public informed.”

Rokita admitted that the comments at issue from the Fox interview “could reasonably be considered to have violated” the rules of professional conduct, but that “if a hearing were necessary, the respondent would demand strict proof of it”, adding that He denies any allegations arising from his comments. about his office’s investigation into Bernard.

Bernard’s lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, said in a statement that her legal team “was not involved in the recent accusations made and therefore cannot comment on them.”

The Indiana Supreme Court will appoint a hearing officer to oversee the case, much like a trial judge would, according to the disciplinary commission’s website. This officer will write a report on the matter and provide it to the Supreme Court, which will make the final decision on whether to reprimand Rokita.

If the Indiana Supreme Court finds that Rokita violated state ethics rules, it could order disciplinary sanctions ranging from a private or public reprimand to permanent disbarment.

Bernard was reprimanded and fined by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board after determining that her disclosure of the 2022 abortion violated federal and state patient confidentiality laws. The reprimand comes after Rokita filed a complaint against Bernard last November, citing his decision to discuss the episode with a journalist.

The procedure was carried out just days after the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, a decision that paved the way for Ohio to ban almost all abortions after six weeks of gestation. The girl was six weeks and three days pregnant, Bernard previously told CNN.

Bernard and his medical partner had sued Rokita, alleging that his office used illegitimate consumer complaints to pursue its investigation against her, but they later dropped their suit.