You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local

Advertisement
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Cathie Humbarger, Allen County Right to Life executive director, details claims Monday against Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who performs abortions in the city.

Abortion doc’s suspension for errors urged

Close to 500 complaints were filed Monday with the Indiana State Attorney General’s Office, alleging sloppy recordkeeping by an Illinois doctor who performs abortions at a Fort Wayne clinic one day a week.

The complaints against Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who works for the Fort Wayne Women’s Health Organization, were filed with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and Indiana Medical Licensing Board, said Cathie Humbarger, executive director of the Allen County Right to Life.

The 487 reports included more than 3,000 errors and omissions on pregnancies terminated between July 2011 and June 2013, said Cathie Humbarger, executive director of the Allen County Right to Life.

Errors included incorrect clinic addresses and fetal development stages, while omissions included the county name and dates of the patients’ last menstruation cycles.

Klopfer could not be reached for comment Monday.

The filing could not be confirmed or denied, said Erin Reece, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Unlike a consumer complaint, in which the public has access to the number and nature of complaints against a particular organization or business, the attorney general’s office does not release any information regarding licensed practitioners, Reece said.

“In order to protect license-holders, no information is revealed unless an action is filed after the investigation,” Reece said.

Complaints are investigated on a case-by-case basis, she said.

The organization is calling for the attorney general and Indiana Medical Licensing Board to suspend Klopfer’s medical license and for Allen County prosecutors to file charges against Klopfer, Humbarger said.

The mistakes and omissions on the reports are indicative of the way the doctor runs his business, she said.

Every report in 2012 and 2013 listed an old clinic address and gave the fetal development stage as 88 weeks, Humbarger said.

“An elephant could develop in 88 weeks,” she said.

“Bringing these errors and omissions to light brings transparency to an industry often shrouded in secrecy,” said Dr. Peter Scaer, board president of the Allen County Right to Life.

The multiple complaints are in addition to another complaint filed last month by the same group against the same doctor, alleging he was not timely in reporting the abortion of a 13-year-old girl performed in February.

Failure to file reports on a timely basis is punishable by a Class B misdemeanor, according to the Indiana Department of Health’s website. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fine of up to $1,000.

The complaints accused Klopfer of performing an abortion on the girl in February and failing to report it to the Indiana Department of Health within three days, per state law. Klopfer reported the procedure to the health department in July, according to paperwork from the state agency. While paperwork shows that Klopfer might not have immediately reported the abortion to the department of health, it’s unclear whether he reported it to another agency.

In Indiana, sex with a person younger than 14 is recognized as child molesting.

Humbarger said she has talked with attorney general’s staff who confirmed that the complaint regarding the 13-year-old had been received.

“We have very little information, but do know that the investigation is ongoing,” she said.

Humbarger said her group has requested a meeting with the local prosecutor’s office, because it has the authority to file charges.

Although Humbarger’s organization is free to forward information, local prosecutors would not normally get copies of complaints filed with the attorney general’s office unless it warranted criminal charges, said Mike McAlexander, Allen County’s chief deputy prosecutor.

Humbarger said her organization is the first of several to file complaints.

Klopfer also works at clinics in Lake and St. Joseph counties, she said. “We anticipate that more charges will be filed in those counties.”

Last year, Humbarger filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against the local clinic claiming that it was not wheelchair-accessible.

The Department of Justice declined to take any action on that complaint.

vsade@jg.net

Advertisement