This story is developing.
For the past two weeks, the veracity of a story of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and got an abortion has been debated in the media. But a document reviewed by The 19th shows that the Indiana physician who performed the abortion submitted record of it to the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Child Services.
A terminated pregnancy report — a document all physicians providing abortions must submit to the state of Indiana — confirms details Dr. Caitlin Bernard gave to the Indianapolis Star in a July 1 story.
Bernard said she performed an abortion for a 10-year-old girl who was raped and had to travel from her home in Ohio to Indiana due to Ohio’s newly implemented six-week abortion ban. The document reviewed by The 19th confirms that Bernard reported an abortion for a 10-year-old who she indicated had been sexually abused. The 27-year old Guatemalan national accused of raping the 10-year old was arrested on Tuesday.
The story drew national attention. Some pointed at it to show the impact of abortion bans; others questioned its veracity, and Bernard faced public criticism, media scrutiny and even threats of investigation. In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced he was investigating Bernard, claiming the abortion provider had a “history of failing to report” abortion services she had provided and that his office would be looking into whether proper documentation existed for this particular abortion. The document reviewed by The 19th confirms that Bernard did in fact file the required documentation by the state deadline.
In addition to being the subject of a state investigation, Bernard has also been doxxed and faced death threats by anti-abortion activists who claimed that Bernard had fabricated details. The story of the girl’s rape and abortion were referenced by President Joe Biden when he announced the signing of a new executive order meant to help protect abortion rights last week.
In a statement, Bernard’s attorney Kathleen DeLaney said, “My client, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician. She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients. She has not violated any law, including patient privacy laws, and she has not been disciplined by her employer. We are considering legal action against those who have smeared my client, including Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, and know that the facts will all come out in due time.”
Per the original Star report, the minor was allegedly raped on May 12 in Ohio. On June 22, the child’s mother reported the assault to child services in Ohio. On June 30, the girl then traveled to Indianapolis to obtain an abortion. She was six weeks and three days pregnant, and thus no longer eligible for an abortion in her home state as a result of the six-week ban. The document reviewed by The 19th corroborates this timeline.
The 2021 annual report produced by the state of Indiana based on the annual termination of pregnancy filings stated that last year, 8,414 abortions were performed in Indiana. Of those, 7,949 were obtained by state residents. Sixty-eight percent of abortions performed in Indiana in 2021 were performed before eight weeks gestational age, and 0.8 percent of all abortions were performed on minors under the age of 16.