Indiana’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the state’s largest hospital system, accusing it of violating patient privacy laws. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital system allowed a doctor to publicly share the story of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who traveled to Indiana for an abortion without the authorization of the patient or her mother. The doctor’s account became controversial in the ongoing abortion debate following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican with a staunchly anti-abortion stance, has been attempting to take legal action against the doctor.
The lawsuit claims that Indiana University Health and IU Healthcare Associates, the named defendants, violated both HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and a state law by failing to protect the patient’s information. Earlier this year, the medical licensing board reprimanded the doctor for talking publicly about the treatment of the 10-year-old girl but did not suspend her medical license as sought by Rokita’s office. The board’s decision received criticism from medical groups and others who viewed it as an attempt to intimidate doctors.
The hospital system officials argue that the doctor did not violate privacy laws. IU Health expressed disappointment with the Indiana Attorney General’s office and vowed to respond directly to their filing.
In a separate case, a 28-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison in July for the rape of the child.