Indiana AG bullying abortion doctor hit with lawsuit and bar complaint

Todd Rokita (photo, right), the GOP attorney general who’s harassing a doctor who performed an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim, is facing repercussions.

Rokita falsely claimed on Fox News that Dr. Caitlin Bernard failed to report the abortion and has “a history” of reporting failures, and  launched an investigation against her and threatened to go after her license to practice medicine.

Her lawyers have “filed a claim notice … saying … Rokita owes her damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational harm and emotional distress,” Huffington Post reported on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 (see story here). Dr. Bernard reportedly has gone into hiding because of threats against her.

A former law school dean has submitted a bar complaint against him for the same actions (see that story here).

Rokita, 52, is a career politician who was Indiana’s secretary of state from 2002 – 2010, a congressman from 2011 – 2019, lost GOP primaries for governor in 2016 and U.S. Senate in 2018, and after being elected Indiana attorney general in 2020 supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election (see his bio here).

Dr. Bernard is suing Rokita personally rather than in his official capacity, claiming his public appearances and disparaging comments were outside the authority of his office. However, using his office to investigate, prosecute, or harass her would involve the state.

Rokita has called Dr. Bernard an “abortion activist.” Assuming she’ll prove she did nothing wrong (the abortion was legal, and state records show she reported it), what’s on trial is tactical use of malicious harassment against abortion supporters.

Rokita is a veteran lawyer and knows where the line between fair comment and tortious behavior is. But he may have lost sight of it, and gotten carried away, in trying to exploit the publicity surrounding the 10-year-old girl’s case to raise his own public profile for personal political gain.

It will be up to a jury, and a bar disciplinary panel, to decide whether he crossed that line.

Meanwhile, for MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes’ take on the story, watch the video below. And, as he reminds us, Fox‘s Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters got the story wrong, proving again that Fox is not where you go for reliable information.

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