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There’s plenty of blame to go around in abortion case

There’s plenty of blame to go around involving the horrific story heavily reported this summer about a pregnant 10-year-old child from Columbus who traveled to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy.

Blame, of course, goes to the man who raped and impregnated the girl. The man charged with the crime is a 27-year-old undocumented immigrant.

That certainly leads many to blame the president and others who have not sealed sufficiently our nation’s southern border.

I suspect some also will blame the girl’s parents, demanding to know how could they have allowed this to happen in the first place?

Many will blame the U.S. Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade, which in turn, created the opportunity for Ohio and many other states to enact strict abortion bans that triggered the trip to Indiana.

Many also will blame Ohio’s legislators for enacting a new law prohibiting abortions, even in the event of rape or incest. This unidentified child has became the poster child for opponents of the law.

After news reports emerged, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost publicly expressed skepticism about the story’s authenticity. He was publicly cynical about the timing of the story, accusing abortion supporters of concocting the story and the media of reporting fake news. He, too, has been a target of blame for the way the story played out.

Yes, there are plenty of people being blamed.

Perhaps the least of those who should be facing blame, however, is the Indianapolis doctor who provided the care, and yes, the abortion, for this poor child undoubtedly frightened and embarrassed, forced to travel hundreds of miles from her home in order to undergo a procedure that would horrify adult women who, unlike a naive 10-year-old, have full understanding of how, why and what is about to happen.

At the time of the procedure, Indiana had not yet passed anti-abortion legislation.

Still, last week, Indiana’s attorney general asked its state medical licensing board to discipline the Indianapolis doctor.

The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a newspaper reporter about the girl’s treatment, according to The Associated Press.

Indeed, it was that public accounting that sparked a national political uproar in the weeks after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Bernard and her lawyers maintain the girl’s abuse already had been reported to Ohio police and child protective services officials before the doctor ever saw the child. Other media also have reported the doctor met the state’s guidelines for reporting the abuse.

Bernard’s lawyers also argue Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who is stridently anti-abortion, has been spreading false or misleading information about the doctor with

his investigation allegations.

The attorney general, however, has said he believes the doctor was using the child’s personal trauma to push her ideological pro-choice stance.

The attorney general’s complaint last week asked the licensing board to impose “appropriate disciplinary action.” State licensing boards can suspend, revoke or place on probation a doctor’s license.

“Dr. Bernard violated the law, her patient’s trust and standards for the medical profession when she disclosed her patient’s abuse, medical issues and medical treatment to a reporter,” he said.

However, Bernard’s employer has told other media she did not violate patient privacy laws.

Also, a judge on Friday found that the attorney general had made “clearly unlawful breaches of the licensing investigations statute,” which requires confidentiality until prosecution is imminent.

Certainly, that raises the question of why he’s been so public with his accusations and what message he is hoping to send with it.

Indeed, this whole scenario is heartbreaking. Frankly, it’s worthy of outrage and blame.

In America — and this is still America — people with differing opinions on abortion and on this scenario will disagree. They will point their fingers in different directions.

I just wonder if a doctor who acted with compassion for a child in a very, very bad situation and who then raised the issue for public discourse is the correct target.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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