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Intimidating doctors for providing health care


When Republicans attempt to downplay the affects of their barbaric abortion bans, one thing they’ll always leave out is that no window of legal abortion means anything if there are no doctors around to perform them:

Her outspokenness has extracted a price. Dr. Bernard, 37, has been criticized across right-wing media, faced harassment and is the subject of an investigation by the Indiana attorney general. She’s landed at the center of a post-Roe clash that the medical community has been dreading — one in which doctors themselves are the focus of political and legal attacks.

“Physicians who provide abortion have been harassed, they have been murdered,” Dr. Bernard said on Tuesday in an interview with The New York Times. “And for too long, I think, because of that, they’ve had to be silent to protect their families, and it’s created an idea that we’re doing something wrong or something illegal. And we’re not. And I feel compelled to say that.”

Threats against abortion providers are hardly new. But the overturning of Roe has created a frightening new legal landscape for doctors.

In conservative states like Indiana, where abortion access is restricted, they face mounting legal requirements that, if not followed, could jeopardize their licenses or land them in jail. A wave of new abortion bans and restrictions across the nation call for hefty prison terms and fines against doctors who provide abortions.

In Indiana, Todd Rokita, the attorney general, is investigating whether Dr. Bernard, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics & gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, reported the Ohio girl’s abortion to Indiana state officials, as required. Records show she did.

In a statement to The Times on Tuesday, the attorney general said he would “see this duty through to the very end,” and accused Dr. Bernard of using “a 10-year-old rape victim’s personal trauma” to “push her ideological stance.”

Whether or not they succeed in Trumping something up on Bernard, the additional point is to make any doctor think twice about performing abortions or speaking on behalf of the interests of their patients. Chilling and gagging speech is integral to the project, as it is to so many reactionary projects.

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