The child had to travel from Ohio to Indiana because her home state’s six-week abortion limit, which does not include exceptions for rape or incest, had expired for just a few days.
President Joe Biden cited the case as an example of the harm and chaos the country is going through in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, prompting several elected officials and media experts to spend days questioning the veracity of the story until law enforcement arrests the alleged perpetrator. and confirmed rape and pregnancy.
A new tort notice from Bernard now starts a 90-day period during which the state is responsible for investigating the situation. After that, depending on what they find, a lawsuit can be filed.
Rokita’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Republican attorney general issued a statement last week saying his office is investigating Bernard, specifically whether she reported the abortion to health and childcare departments within the required three-day time frame.
In a statement that remains on his website — even after the media, including POLITICO, obtained records showing that she had indeed reported the abortion — Rokita warned: “Failure to do so is a crime in Indiana, and her behavior may also affect her license.”
Bernard’s legal document does not specify the amount she will demand from the state, but says she “intends to recover damages for security costs, legal fees, reputational damage and emotional distress.”
Bernard’s spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told POLITICO that her client was subjected to “personal and dangerous threats” against her and her family as Rokita publicly accused her of wrongdoing.
Rokita also faces retaliation from other angles. Friday, Former Dean of the Indiana University School of Law filed a formal ethics complaint against him, to ask the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission to investigate whether he committed professional misconduct by making “inflammatory statements on national television” about Bernard “without due diligence as to their veracity”. If the commission finds that Rokita did indeed act inappropriately, he could face revocation of his lawyer’s license.
In Indiana, meanwhile, there are only a few weeks left before a special session of the Republican Party-controlled legislature is expected to consider a near-total ban on abortion.