September 27, 2019

Indiana launches investigation after discovery of remains of aborted babies at doctor’s home

During a press conference in Indianapolis on Sept. 20, Indiana attorney general Curtis Hill addresses the media about the investigation into the 2,246 aborted fetal remains found on the Illinois property of late abortion Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

During a press conference in Indianapolis on Sept. 20, Indiana attorney general Curtis Hill addresses the media about the investigation into the 2,246 aborted fetal remains found on the Illinois property of late abortion Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The story of 2,246 aborted fetal remains found at the Illinois home of the late Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer continues to unfold, with the new focal point being on Indiana where he performed abortions.

From medical records found in close proximity to the remains, “We’ve been able to ascertain that [they] are pertaining to a period of time from 2000 to 2002,” said Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill during a press conference at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Sept. 20. (See related editorial)

Those records also identified that “all 2,246 fetal remains do come from the state of Indiana,” he added.

Klopfer was 75 when he died on Sept. 3.

He had performed abortions in Indiana since the 1970s, but had his medical license revoked in 2016 after numerous infractions through the years.

Klopfer, whom Hill referred to as “one of the most notorious abortionists in the history of Indiana,” formerly operated abortion centers in the northern Indiana cities of Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend. It is estimated that he performed more than 30,000 abortions through the course of his career, according to Jackie Appleman, executive director of Right to Life in St. Joseph County, where South Bend is located.

The buildings that served as his abortion centers were abandoned after his medical license was suspended indefinitely “as a result of a whole host of violations, including record keeping,” Hill said.

Pro-life volunteers told Today’s Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, that they had observed Klopfer carrying out boxes from his South Bend abortion center and placing them in his car on numerous occasions, even after he was ordered to cease performing abortions. Lynne Scherschel, vice president of Lake County Right to Life, reported the same incidents at Klopfer’s Gary facility.

The three former abortion center buildings in northern Indiana were searched by police on Sept. 19. No additional fetal remains were discovered.

But what was found were “thousands of abandoned medical records,” Hill said.

When a physician retires, “ordinarily there’s some process in place where those records are transferred to another physician or the Indiana Department of Health,” Hill explained. The abandoned records have now been secured by the attorney general’s office to ensure their accessibility and to protect patient privacy.

The records will be used as part of the investigation to determine “if there is any information that would suggest that any other licensed professionals have a hand in the transference of these fetal remains across the state lines,” said the attorney general.

“Also, as a part of this investigation, we’re looking to see if those records shed light on anyone else who might be culpable for particular licensing problems, as well as criminal violations … that could lead to someone being investigated for child molestation, rape or incest.”

When asked if this incident will change the licensing procedure of abortion centers in Indiana, Hill responded, “It certainly will be a consideration.

“The purpose of having licensing procedures is, one, to identify if a particular clinic [is] appropriate for doing this kind of work, and also having follow up to make sure that things that are supposed to be done have been done.

“It’s somewhat troubling that we look back in history and find here’s 2,246 fetuses that were supposed to have been properly disposed and they’re not,” he admitted. “So the procedural breakdown in terms of a regulatory process, that needs to be addressed at some point.”

Hill also noted that the situation is “indicative of the correctness of states like Indiana having a law that provides for what should happen to a fetus that’s been aborted,” a reference to 2016 state legislation that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

He summarized the investigation moving forward as “trying to determine how this happened, who was involved and what, if anything, we can do about it, and what we can do going forward to prevent this from happening in the future.”

As for the 2,246 aborted fetuses, which Klopfer preserved with a biological-preserving chemical, Hill said they “are now safe” at the coroner’s office in Will County, Ill., the county in which Klopfer lived.

“It’s very important to bring these babies back home,” he said. “We want to make sure we have a safe and appropriate environment here in Indiana. We will take the time necessary to ensure that. It could be a matter of days, it could be longer. But the bottom line is we have secured the safety of those remains, and that is our top priority.”

Ultimately, the fetuses will be “treated in accordance with current Indiana law [requiring] burial and cremation and dignity and respect,” said Hill.

“We’re thankful the attorney general is treating these babies as babies, with the dignity and respect they deserved all along,” said Marc Tuttle, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis.

“And we’re thankful he’s taking this seriously, to get to the bottom of any laws or regulations that were violated. We hope this is a wake-up call for authorities to continue to monitor and regulate the abortion industry, because these types of things happen too often.”

Serena Dyksen of Elkhart, Ind., spoke of such violations during a press conference in South Bend on Sept. 17. She was raped by an uncle at age 13 and forced to have an abortion. Klopfer performed the abortion—an abortion that was not reported as required by state law.

“Even after much healing and attending a post-abortive retreat, hearing the news of [more than] 2,000 baby remains on George Klopfer’s property stirred up so many emotions—not only for me but many women reaching out to me,” she said. “I feel like I have been violated all over again.”
 

(Anne Carey, who writes for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend’s Today’s Catholic, contributed to this story. For those who had an abortion at Klopfer’s Fort Wayne, South Bend or Gary facilities between 2000-2002, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has created two communication methods to inquire about a possible connection to the fetal remains: 317-234-6663 and questions@atg.in.gov.)

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