The Indiana physician who provided an abortion last month to a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim who could not legally obtain one in her home state was once targeted in a vicious kidnapping threat against her daughter, The Guardian reported Friday.
Dr. Caitlin Bernard also was — and continues to be — ominously listed on the website of a militant anti-abortion group in South Bend, Indiana, called Right To Life Michiana, which has ties to Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Bernard testified in a court case last year that she was forced to stop performing abortions at a clinic in South Bend after the FBI alerted the local Planned Parenthood office that a kidnapping threat had been made against Bernard’s daughter, according to The Guardian.
At the time, her name was listed among abortion doctors targeted by the Michiana group, along with information about her place of work. All of the information is still on the site.
In 2006, Barrett signed a statement published in an advertisement by a group that would later merge with Michiana, saying that all signatories “defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death,” according to The Guardian. It also called Roe v. Wade, which protected women’s right to abortion for 50 years, “barbaric.”
Barrett would later become a U.S. Supreme Court justice and join the conservative majority to toss out the landmark decision last month.
Bernard is now being harangued by Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita, who has falsely claimed she failed to report the 10-year-old girl’s sexual assault and rape, which she did. Rokita was apparently unable to locate the report in his own state’s records — even though several media outlets did — before he launched an investigation.
Bernard’s lawyers have fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Rokita, telling him to stop spreading lies about her or he will be sued for defamation.
Bernard’s spokesperson, Kendra Barkoff Lamy, called the “personal and dangerous” threats against the doctor “devastating.”
“Sadly, Dr. Bernard is not alone, and this happens to doctors like her who provide abortions across our nation,” she told the Guardian.
Bernard’s cease-and-desist letter to Rokita warned that his lying attacks also threatened to incite “harassment and violence” against her.
As of Saturday evening, Rokita hadn’t yet responded to Bernard’s letter. His office is reportedly “reviewing” it.
Both Rokita and Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan initially derided the report of the girl’s rape and being forced to cross state lines to obtain an abortion as lies — until a suspect was charged with the rape this week. Jordan quickly removed a disdainful tweet about the shocking case.
Neither man has expressed any compassion for the rape victim.