Indiana Doctor Has Faced Threats. So Has Her Daughter

Caitlin Bernard performed abortion on 10-year-old girl who had been raped
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2022 11:03 AM CDT
Indiana Doctor Has Faced Threats. So Has Her Daughter
Dr. Caitlin Bernard speaks at an abortion rights rally last month at the Indiana Statehouse.   (Jenna Watson/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, who recently performed an abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio girl, has faced threats before—including one to kidnap her daughter reported by the FBI. The Indiana OB-GYN stopped going to a clinic in South Bend, 2½ hours away, to provide abortions after her daughter was threatened, the Guardian reports. "I felt it would be best for me to limit my travel and exposure during that time," Bernard testified in 2021 in a case about abortion restrictions. "I was concerned that there may be people who would be able to identify me during that travel, as well as it's a very small clinic without any privacy for the people who are driving in and out, and so therefore, people could directly see me."

In addition, Bernard is named on a website by an antiabortion group based in South Bend, called Right to Life Michiana, per the Washington Post. Her name, education history, and workplace location—along with information on five other doctors—are listed under the header: Local Abortion Threat: The Abortionist. In January, the group's executive director said it "does not condone or encourage harm, threats or harassment towards anyone, including abortion doctors, abortion business employees and escorts." Says Dr. Alison Case, one of the other doctors named: "What's the point of putting out a list like that unless you’re encouraging people to take action against us?"

It's the same group that publicly linked a future Supreme Court justice to its cause. Amy Coney Barrett signed a newspaper ad placed by Right to Life Michiana in 2006, when she taught law at Notre Dame University, denouncing "abortion on demand." The ad seems to be the first time Barrett took a public stand on the issue, per the Post. She had neglected to disclose the ad during her Senate confirmation in 2020, and a court spokesperson did not immediately answer whether Barrett is still involved with the group or endorses naming providers. Despite the threats and outcry from abortion rights opponents, Bernard tweeted Friday night that she'll "continue to provide healthcare ethically, lovingly, and bravely each and every day." (More abortion rights stories.)

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