Dr. Caitlin Bernard, Who Aborted a 10-year-old Ohio Child, Speaks Out and Pays

Three weeks ago The Supreme Court overturned the Roe and Wade . caseCaitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis-based obstetrician and gynecologist, wearing a white lab coat, put her infant daughter in an infant van and marched with some colleagues to the National Building association, in the hope of sending a letter to Governor Eric Holcomb.

Signed by hundreds of medical professionals, the letter begs Republican Holcomb not to convene a special legislative session to further restrict abortion. It contained a clear political message: “Abortion bans are not common in our state.”

Dr. Bernard, who became the national focus for providing abortions to a 10-year-old rape victim last month, giving birth and providing contraceptive care, pap smears, and routine obstetric care services other. She is also one of the few doctors in her state with specific training in complex reproductive care, including second-trimester abortions.

But some of her riskiest work took place outside of hospitals, openly advocating access to abortion.

Her outspokenness has come at a cost. Dr. Bernard, 37, has been criticized throughout the right-wing media, faces harassment and is the subject of an investigation by the Indiana attorney general. She landed in the center of a post-Roe . clash which the medical community has come to dread – one in which doctors themselves are at the center of political and legal attacks.

“Doctors providing abortion services have been harassed, they were murdered,” Dr. Bernard said Tuesday in an interview with The New York Times. “And for so long, I think, because of that, they had to be quiet to protect their families, and it created an idea that we were doing something wrong or something wrong. legal. And we don’t. And I feel compelled to say it.”

Threats to abortion providers hardly new. But Roe’s overturn has created a terrifying new legal landscape for doctors.

In Indiana, Attorney General Todd Rokita is investigating whether Dr. Bernard, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, reported the Ohio girl’s abortion to Indiana state officials at his request. demand or not. Profile display she has done.

In a statement to The Times on Tuesday, the attorney general said he would “consider this duty to the end,” and accused Dr. Bernard of using “the personal trauma of a 10 rape victim.” age” to “promote her ideological stance.”

Dr. Bernard, in turn, said that Mr Rokita was just another politician engaged in “threatening the state for their own political ends”. The girl has File a Torture Complaint against him, the first step towards a potential defamation lawsuit.

Kristin Lyerly, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Wisconsin who coordinates reproductive health advocacy in the Midwest for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Before Roe was exposed, she said, she was providing abortions at one of four clinics in Wisconsin. There, abortion was banned under a 1849 law making it a criminal offence.

“Those of us who provide abortion care have tried to do it discreetly and carefully for many years knowing that this is essential health care for our patients.” Dr. Lyerly said. “Now we feel we really need to tell the story and be very candid about what we’re seeing and experiencing and what our patients are dealing with, and take protective behaviour. Protects patient privacy very well.”

Abortion is only a small part of Dr. Bernard’s practice. She handles complex abortions – cases where the mother’s life is in danger – at the university’s medical center. She provides abortions – both surgical and medication – several days a month at Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana and Kentucky.

The work has long included stressors that go beyond providing sensitive medical care: In 2020, she said, the FBI informed Planned Parenthood that it was investigating a kidnapping threat for her daughter.

Her patients describe her as kind and caring; Rebecca Evans, a midwife who sought care from Dr. Bernard after she suffered a miscarriage, called Dr. Bernard a “holistic” clinician who “does all the other things.” each other and she was really passionate about it all.”

She says Dr. Bernard’s support is to advance her goal of providing patients with the best medical care possible. By limiting abortion options and requiring her to make certain statements – such as informing a patient that the fetus feels pain during an abortion when the science on the matter is still unknown clearly – the state is forcing her to practice medicine in an unsafe and medically incorrect way, she said.

She is the plaintiff in a 2019 lawsuit submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union search failed to overturn Indiana’s ban on nearly all third-trimester abortions. She regularly testifies in the State Legislature. After Roe was debunked, she organized a protest. (She also has a tattoo on her left foot, which shows a wire hanger – a symbol of dangerous home abortions before the procedure was legal – above the words “Trust me.” thought of women”.)

Indiana currently allows abortions up to 22 weeks. This week, as the Indiana legislature considered a near-total abortion ban during the legislative session she fought against, Dr. Bernard was not there.

She said that the abortionists had left hateful messages on her cell phone. She continued to see patients, but hired a security detail, and her colleagues started a GoFundMe account to help her mount legal bills. Showing up in person in a tense environment at the Legislature can add to the tension.

“The politicization of me, and the work I do, has certainly made it difficult for me to continue with the policy that I have had in the past,” she admitted.

Not long after Roe was overturned, Indianapolis star learned of her 10-year-old patient, who had come from Ohio, where abortions after six weeks are banned, including in cases of rape or incest. Dr. Bernard’s allies say it was no coincidence that the 10-year-old was introduced to her; They say there are very few doctors who can handle such a sensitive case.

Earlier this month, President Biden cited the case when he signed an executive order designed to ensure access to abortion pills. Suddenly, all eyes were on Dr. Bernard.

Dr. Bernard on Tuesday declined to discuss any aspect of the incident, citing the girl’s privacy. In addition to worrying about being prosecuted, she could face consequences at work. Until Tuesday, her employer, the Indiana University School of Medicine, a state-funded institution, and Indiana University Health, a nonprofit health care system, had been publicly silent about except to say that she did not violate patient privacy laws.

In a statement to The Times, the president of Indiana University, Pam Whitten, and the dean of the medical school, Dr Jay Hess, said Dr. Bernard remains “a member of the faculty in good standing”. IU Health calls her a “valued and respected doctor” and a “true advocate for patient health and well-being.”

In a sense, Dr. Bernard’s life prepared her for this moment. She drew on her activism from her parents, who grew up in the 1960s socially free and lived on a shared ranch in upstate New York when their children were young.

When she was five years old, she announced to her family that she was going to be a doctor, her older sister, Rebeccah Johnson, said. When she was 15, she and her sister walked past a crowd of protesters at a Planned Parenthood clinic to get birth control. She then witnessed first-hand the complications women can get during pregnancy when she and her father, a carpenter, traveled to Guatemala to help run health clinics.

Maybe that’s why, she said, she’s always been drawn to the field of obstetrics and gynecology. In his early career, Dr. Bernard joined a program called AMPATHled by Indiana University, which brings American doctors to Kenya, where abortion is largely prohibited.

Nearly a third of the patients she sees have complications from unsafe home abortions. Dr Astrid Christoffersen-Deb, her supervisor, said: “We often see women who have been raped, assaulted and are pregnant.

After completing medical school and residency at Upstate College of Medicine in Syracuse, NY, Dr. Bernard trained at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is recognized for her “complex family planning”, a specialty that qualifies her to handle complex cases including- three-month abortion.

“People who need a second-trimester abortion are often faced with the worst scenarios imaginable – they have a very desirable pregnancy and their baby will not survive or will lead a sterile life. same difficulty and they are trying to save their child. that outcome,” she said, adding, “Politicians, who are uncomfortable with abortion care, have often never been in those situations. “

In 2017, Dr. Bernard left St. Louis to Indiana, where she became a “come” doctor to speak out in defense of reproductive rights, said Dr. Tracey A. Wilkinson, a pediatrician who, along with Dr. Bernard, participates in the chapter of the Indiana Reproductive Health Advocacy Project. Dr. Wilkinson spent the whole day Monday at the Indiana Capitol, and said she deeply felt Dr. Bernard’s absence.

Dr Wilkinson said: “We didn’t know we were going to change the way votes were held. “We went to record that someone stood up and said this was wrong. We go so our patients hear someone stand up for them. “

On Tuesday, Indiana’s abortion ban went beyond a Senate committee, drawing critics from across politics. Abortion rights advocates call the measure an attack on women, while some anti-abortion activists criticize exceptions allowing abortion in cases of rape and incest. ; One person suggested that Dr. Bernard’s 10-year-old patient should have been asked to have a baby.

Dr. Bernard said, if the bill passed, she would more than likely refer Indiana women to out-of-state abortion providers. Although she knew it could create more problems for her, she had no intention of staying silent.

“One of the most important things about abortion in America is that people don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “They fear the stigma, the suppliers fear the stigma that they will be harassed, targeted, because they have been. So one of the most important things is just being honest about it. “

Mitch Smith contributed to this story.

Source link


News5s: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button