A US doctor who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old boy has been fined by the medical board for speaking to the media about the case.
Indiana authorities say Dr. Caitlin Barnard violated her patient’s privacy after going public about the girl’s treatment.
Her lawyers say she was fulfilling her responsibility to educate the public about the effects of policies such as abortion bans.
The story gained national and international attention at the time.
Dr Barnard was fined $3,000 (£2,425) and issued a letter of reprimand.
The Indiana Medical Licensing Board, however, did not suspend Dr. Barnard’s license and ruled him unfit to practice.
In July 2022, a month after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling ended the nationwide guarantee of abortion, the Indianapolis Star published a story about Dr. Barnard’s treatment of a 10-year-old rape survivor. was
The child traveled to Indiana from neighboring Ohio to have an abortion.
At the time, Ohio law prohibited abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
As the story gathered steam, pro-choice advocates — including President Joe Biden — used the case as an example of the impact of abortion bans.
Later that month, an Ohio man was charged with raping the girl, who has not been named.
Last November, the Indiana State Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint alleging that Dr. Barnard failed to promptly report child abuse, as required by state law, and violated patient confidentiality. In protection of
She testified that she followed hospital policy by reporting the patient’s abuse to a social worker.
“My role as a doctor is to take care of the patient no matter how they are in my care, it’s not my job to investigate a crime,” he said.
The hearing was held before the state Medical and Licensing Board on Thursday and lasted more than 14 hours.
During the hearing, state officials tried to portray Dr. Barnard as an “abortion activist” who shared details about the procedure with the media without first seeking permission from the child’s family.
“The trust was violated when (Barnard) tried to push his agenda,” Deputy Attorney General Corey White said of the allegations against the doctor. If the board agreed with the state’s complaint, Dr. Barnard “became disqualified from practicing,” he said.
Dr. Barnard became emotional at times in his testimony as he talked about treating other minor patients who had been abused and attempted abortions.
He said he did not violate his patient’s privacy, or release protected health information, while discussing the case with the Indianapolis Star.
“I think it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impact of abortion laws or any other laws in this country,” Dr. Barnard said.
“I think it’s important for people to know what the legislation is going to put patients through.”
At the conclusion of the hearing, members of the medical board found that Dr. Barnard violated patient confidentiality laws but did not violate any requirements for physicians to report child abuse.
A letter of reprimand was also issued to Dr. Barnard.
Dr. John Strobel, president of the Indiana Medical Board, said it was important to protect privacy but added: “I think she’s a good doctor.”