Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana physician whom Republicans targeted for providing a legal abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim, made her first televised appearance Tuesday because the ordeal unfolded.
Bernard, who cared for the kid from Ohio because her home state has outlawed abortion because the fall of Roe v. Wade last month, said in a sit-down interview with “CBS Evening News’” Norah O’Donnell that anyone who doubts children need abortion care should “spend a day in my clinic.”
“Unfortunately, sexual assault in children will not be unusual,” she said. “I’m not the one provider who has taken care of young children needing abortion care.”
EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who in response to Indiana state records provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim, opens up about being attacked by the state’s attorney general who said he plans to research her. pic.twitter.com/FMHj74se1y
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) July 26, 2022
Her remarks come after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appeared on Fox News earlier this month casting doubt on the existence of Bernard’s patient, whose health care needs had been reported on in The Indianapolis Star. There was “not a whisper anywhere” of a 10-year-old being raped in Ohio, Yost claimed. Media investigations, nonetheless, confirmed the rape case days later.
Bernard also pushed back on attacks from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who assailed her on Fox News as an “abortion activist acting as a physician with a history of failing to report” an abortion performed for a minor, adding that he may pursue charges against her.
“I’m a physician,” she said. “I spent my entire life working to have this position to have the opportunity to handle patients each day.”
She reiterated, as she did in a defamation lawsuit against Rokita, that she has never didn’t report an abortion on a patient younger than 16 to Indiana authorities, because the state requires.
Bernard says she believes the highlight on her patient’s case could also be a wake-up call for individuals who wanted strict abortion bans to enter effect, as they’ve in a couple of dozen states to date.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard speaks at an abortion rights rally on June 25 on the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. The lawyer for Bernard, who drew criticism after speaking out a couple of 10-year-old girl who traveled from Ohio for an abortion, said her client provided proper treatment and didn’t violate privacy laws in discussing the unidentified girl’s case.
Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via Associated Press
“I feel we’re at a time in our country where individuals are starting to appreciate the impact of those anti-abortion laws,” she told O’Donnell. “And now when it’s finally grow to be not possible for some people, I feel people realize that that is definitely not what they intended. That will not be what they need for kids, for ladies to be put in these situations of life-threatening conditions of traumatic pregnancies.”
The conservative attacks on her, she continued, show “how abortion, as an alternative of being a part of health care, which it’s, [and] a needed lifesaving procedure, which it’s, has been used to create a wedge between people politically and personally.”
Bernard’s interview aired on the second day of Indiana’s special legislative session, where Republicans are working to pass laws that will ban abortion within the state with few exceptions. With GOP majorities in each the state’s Senate and House, Democrats are unlikely to stop the bill from becoming law in the subsequent few weeks.