INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Todd Rokita, the Attorney General of Indiana, faces charges from the state’s Supreme Court disciplinary commission. The allegations, submitted on Monday, assert Rokita breached professional conduct rules through his public remarks regarding a contentious case in 2022 involving an Ohio girl seeking an abortion in Indiana and the supervising physician.
The commission’s complaint includes three counts, two of which develop from pronouncements made about the doctor involved, an obstetrician-gynecologist named Caitlin Bernard, on a Fox News program. During the July 2022 appearance, Rokita referred to Bernard as an “abortion activist acting as a doctor — with a history of failure to report.” Such comments, the commission believes, could potentially influence the course of the ongoing investigation and were intended primarily to embarrass, delay, or impose a burden on Bernard.
Rokita’s alleged violation of Indiana’s confidentiality statutes constitutes the third count. The Attorney General made concerning public remarks about the probe into Bernard’s professional conduct prior to filing an official complaint with the Medical Licensing Board in November.
In response, Rokita conveyed the charges as attempts to target “non-compliant citizens” in an environment that uses intimidating methods to exploit respected institutions. He says the complaints arise mainly from issues highlighted in media reports. The Attorney General remains committed to defending Indiana’s legal codes and holding medical professionals accountable when accused of violating patients’ privacy or neglecting to secure proper consent.
Rokita admits the use of certain phrases during the Fox News interview could be perceived as a transgression of professional conduct rules. However, he disputes the breach of confidentiality charge. He reasons that since Bernard first publicly discussed the 10-year-old’s case — an act the Medical Licensing Board classified as a violation of patient privacy laws — no confidentiality was necessary.
Adrienne Meiring, the executive director of the disciplinary commission, and deputy director Stephanie Bibbs filed the complaint against Rokita. They recommended professional misconduct discipline and required cost compliance for Rokita. On the other hand, Bernard’s attorney, Kathleen DeLaney, refrained from commenting on the charges, noting that their legal team was not part of the process.
The Supreme Court’s disciplinary commission’s complaint against the Attorney General follows a recent lawsuit Rokita filed against IU Health asserting the healthcare organization violated privacy laws. In a related matter earlier this year, his office scored a legal victory when the state’s medical licensing board found Bernard in violation of privacy laws regarding a patient’s information related to abortion.
The disciplinary commission’s filing is the most recent in a string of legal procedures facing Attorneys General across the country. Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was cleared from impeachment articles in the Texas Senate, encompassing misconduct, corruption, and bribery. Rokita expressed support for Paxton and criticized the process as an abuse of institutional authority.