This is getting worse and worse. My colleagues and I noted yesterday that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita had threatened the doctor who treated the 10 year old rape victim from Ohio with investigation, loss of licensure and even imprisonment. This was another effort to shift the story after Republicans at first tried to claim the girl didn’t exist. Rokita suggested that the doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, had failed to file mandated reports with the state about the abuse and the abortion. At least, Rokita claimed, he could find no evidence for any reports. Bernard is an “abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report,” Rokita told Fox News on Wednesday. “We’re gathering the information, we’re gathering the evidence as we speak and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at [Bernard’s] licensure, if she failed to report. In Indiana it’s a crime for … to intentionally not report.”
Now we learn that a local Fox affiliate in Indiana was able to find out through a simple public records request that Bernard not only filed the report on the termination of the pregnancy but also reported that the patient was a victim of abuse — even though the abuse occurred not in Indiana but the neighboring state of Ohio, where it was also reported to authorities by the girl’s physician.
In other words Rokita went forward with a series of defamatory claims and accusations against Bernard and called down a nationwide campaign of harassment and vilification against her apparently without even the most cursory of records checks that were not only available to him as attorney general but members of the public in roughly 24 hours.
We’ve now gone through two rapid-fire deception cycles in which first Ohio and then Indiana Republicans reacted to this story with mixes of denial and deceptions only to have their stories collapse in no more than 36 hours. In the escalating backlash against the Dobbs decision, which is flowing into the midterm election campaign, Republicans simply aren’t prepared to grapple with the growing number of horror stories triggered by the draconian laws they themselves both demanded and are busy forcing into law.
The fact that they got the story wrong and then willfully did nothing to correct the record is standard procedure now. All that matters was the original explosion of indulgent rage and screaming pundits. No apologies; just another attempt at redirection because that’s how they roll.