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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 16, 2019 5:20 pm

Abortion-rights foes seek return, burial of fetuses preserved by doctor

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Abortion-rights opponents – including Republican state lawmakers from northeast Indiana – are demanding that a dead abortion provider be investigated.

They also seek the return of the remains of any fetuses preserved by Dr. Ulrich "George" Klopfer after abortions he performed at his Fort Wayne clinic, which closed in late 2013.

"Ultimately it's our desire that if any of those babies' bodies, those little boys and girls, are identified as having come from this Fort Wayne facility, we would like to have them released to us so that we can have a proper funeral and burial out of respect for these babies," Cathie Humbarger, executive director of Allen County Right to Life, said Monday afternoon at a news conference outside Klopfer's former clinic along Inwood Drive near State and Coliseum boulevards.

Investigators in Will County, Illinois, found 2,246 preserved fetal remains at Klopfer's home last week after his family reported discovering what appeared to be fetal remains there. Klopfer died Sept. 3 at age 74.

Will County sheriff's spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said Monday that the investigation of Klopfer's home is "a very sensitive situation" involving the sheriff's office, coroner's office and prosecutors, according to an Associated Press report. Hoffmeyer said no further information will be released until the investigation is completed.

State Sens. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, and Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, and state Rep. Christy Stutzman, R-Middlebury, called for the Indiana attorney general and the Indiana State Department of Health to investigate Klopfer, who also operated abortion clinics in South Bend and Gary until losing medical and facility licensing in 2016.

"We will be doing everything we can and in our power to make sure that justice is served, that these children are given a dignified and proper burial, and that closure happens for many women right now – I know even some of them personally – that are being retraumatized by this," said Stutzman, the wife of former congressman Marlin Stutzman.

Brown said she wants a criminal investigation of Klopfer.

"To find out today that he has remains in Illinois and no one even knows where they came from or how he acquired them? We don't even know if they came from these clinics that were only ostensibly legally operated," she said.

Humbarger said she does not know why Klopfer preserved fetal remains.

"We're limited only by our imagination as to what a man with a twisted mind might think about to save the aborted remains of the children that died at his hand," she said.