This image made from a Dec. 1, 2015, video provided by WNDU-TV shows Ulrich Klopfer in South Bend, Ind. More than 2,200 medically preserved fetal remains have been found at the Illinois home of the former Indiana abortion clinic doctor who died last week. (WNDU-TV via AP)

Indiana lawmakers seek probe of ex-abortion doctor's clinics

September 16, 2019 - 12:33 pm

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Four Indiana lawmakers called for a state investigation to determine whether more than 2,000 medically preserved fetal remains found at the Illinois home of a late Indiana abortion clinic doctor were illegally transported across state lines.

State Rep. Ron Bacon said in a statement late Sunday that he and three other Republican lawmakers want the Indiana attorney general's office to investigate the shuttered clinics in Allen, Lake and St. Joseph's counties where Dr. Ulrich Klopfer had performed abortions.

Klopfer died Sept. 3. The Will County Sheriff's Office in northeastern Illinois announced late Friday that 2,246 preserved fetal remains were found at Klopfer's home there, after Klopfer's relatives discovered them while sorting through his property.

The county coroner's office has taken possession of the remains.

Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Bacon called the discovery "seriously disturbing" in a statement that expressed concern that "there may be other remains in the Indiana clinics where he performed abortions."

He said state Sen. Liz Brown and state Reps. Christy Stutzman and Denny Zent had joined him in calling for Hill's office to investigate the former clinics in South Bend, Fort Wayne and Gary to make sure no fetal remains are being stored there.

The attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday in a statement that he was "deeply disturbed" by the discovery of the fetal remains and said he supports "calls for a federal investigation." His statement did not address the request by four state lawmakers for an investigation by the state's attorney general.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski had called Saturday for state and federal authorities to "conduct a full investigation into this case and take any steps necessary to protect Hoosiers, including the unborn, from unsafe practitioners."

The spokeswoman for the Will County Sheriff's Office, Kathy Hoffmeyer, said Monday that its investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released until it is complete. She called it "a very sensitive situation" involving the sheriff's department, coroner's office and prosecutors.

Klopfer was believed to be Indiana's most prolific abortion doctor, performing thousands of procedures over several decades, the South Bend Tribune reported.

His clinics in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend closed years before his death.

The state revoked the South Bend clinic's license in 2015. The Indiana State Department of Health had previously issued complaints against the clinic, accusing it of lacking a registry of patients, policies regarding medical abortion, and a governing body to determine policies. The agency also accused the clinic of failing to document that patients get state-mandated education at least 18 hours before an abortion.

Klopfer's license was suspended by Indiana's Medical Licensing Board in November 2016 after it found a number of violations, including a failure to ensure that qualified staff was present when patients received or recovered from medications given before and during abortion procedures.

Klopfer was no longer practicing by that time, but he told the panel he had never lost a patient in 43 years of doing abortions.