Headline RoundupMay 26th, 2023

Medical Board Fines Doctor Who Publicized 10-Year-Old's Abortion Case

AllSides Summary

An Indiana doctor who made national news last year after publicizing a 10-year-old's abortion case violated the patient's privacy, according to a state board.

The Details: Indiana's Medical Licensing Board said Dr. Caitlin Bernard broke privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl’s abortion. The board fined Bernard $3,000, but didn't suspend her license. Bernard has denied wrongdoing.

Key Quotes: Indiana's deputy attorney general said "everyone – the country – learned about her patient. Learned a 10-year-old little girl was raped and had an abortion." Bernard said she "did not release any protected health information. I complied with all patient confidentiality and HIPAA laws to the best of my knowledge."

For Context: The story made headlines last July after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The victim reportedly went to Indiana for the procedure due to abortion restrictions in her home state of Ohio. For supporters of abortion, the story resembled a tragic new post-Roe norm. Some conservatives focused more on how the girl's accused rapist is an unauthorized immigrant.

How the Media Covered It: Sources across the spectrum covered the news. Right-rated sources often mentioned that the alleged rapist was in the country illegally, and some framed Bernard as having recklessly sought fame. Left-rated sources didn't, and some instead framed her as the target of unwarranted Republican animosity. Similar splits in coverage occurred when the story first broke last year.

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