180,000 collected for legal fees


INDIANAPOLIS — Doctors across the country helped raise about $180,000 to pay security and legal costs for an Indiana University obstetrician-gynecologist after she became a flashpoint in the abortion debate over providing the procedure to a 10-year-old had been a rape victim.

The saga unfolded earlier this month after Dr. Caitlin Bernard told the Indianapolis Star, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, that she had treated the 10-year-old Ohio girl. After Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, Ohio’s trigger law, which banned abortions after six weeks, went into effect.

The girl’s story went viral, hitting news outlets across the country and becoming a focal point in the abortion debate. It became a talking point for abortion advocates, including President Joe Biden. Some opponents and news outlets have criticized the story as unproven. But criminal charges and court testimony earlier this week corroborated the troubling story.

Doctors gather to support Bernard ahead of ‘intense trial’

On Friday, supporters launched a fundraiser to help Bernard with the security fees and legal expenses she has taken on while she faces public scrutiny.

A team of OB-GYN providers from across the country launched a GoFundMe that had raised nearly $180,000 from about 2,400 donors as of Saturday night.

“We are gynecologists and abortion providers from all over the country, who our colleague Dr. would like to thank Caitlin Bernard for doing a brave thing and helping provide compassionate healthcare to a child in need,” reads the GoFundMe page. “Many of us have experienced this in our industry and the ability to stand up to the call despite a tragedy like this is truly commendable.”

MAINTENANCE LETTER:Indiana AG’s comments about the doctor who performed the 10-year-old’s abortion prompted them to issue a cease-and-desist letter

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky announced Friday it will also provide security services and legal fee assistance to Bernard.

“We are in solidarity with Dr. Bernard and all providers who continue to provide compassionate and essential care to patients, even in the face of attacks from anti-abortionists,” CEO Rebecca Gibron wrote in a statement.

Planned Parenthood shared an abortion provider fund, which the organization says donors can offer financial assistance to abortion providers like Bernard, covering legal and other costs.

Bernard tweeted her thanks for the “outpouring of courageous support” on Friday night.

“It’s been a difficult week, but my colleagues and I will continue to provide healthcare ethically, lovingly and courageously every day,” she wrote.

“And thank you to the journalists who have worked tirelessly and diligently to educate the public about this important story and the truth,” she added. “I hope to share my story soon.”

Indiana AG says he’s gathering “evidence” on Bernard

As news of Bernard’s account spread, it became the target of conservative Fox News anchors as well as the Ohio and Indiana attorneys general, who questioned the validity of Bernard’s story on the television network.

Since then, an Ohio man has been charged with raping the 10-year-old girl.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita also questioned whether Bernard violated Indiana law by failing to report the abortion and that the child was molested. Documents obtained by IndyStar show that Bernard reported the procedure and abuse in a timely manner.

Although IU Health concluded that Bernard did not violate HIPAA statutes, Rokita has remained committed to investigating Bernard.

Rokita told Fox News on Wednesday that his office is “gathering the evidence as we speak and we will fight it to the end, including examining her license.”

He added, “If she hasn’t reported it in Indiana, it’s a felony for — not reporting, intentionally not reporting.”

A lawyer for Bernard on Friday sent Rokita a cease and desist letter, citing the claims he made about her in his appearance on Fox News.

“Your false and defamatory statements to Fox News dated July 13, 2022 accuse Dr. Bernard in a false light and alleging wrongdoing at work,” wrote Kathleen DeLaney, Bernard’s attorney, in the letter to Rokita.

A spokesman for Rokita’s office wrote in an email that the letter will be reviewed upon receipt, but “no false or misleading statements were made.”


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