Indiana Abortion Clinic Raided over Multiple Health, Safety Violations
On Wednesday, police in South Bend, Indiana raided an abortion clinic, seizing documents and other property of an abortionist who has a history of numerous health and safety violations and had been criminally charged in January of performing an abortion on a 13-year old girl but not filing a report of statutory rape until nearly four months later.
As Operation Rescue reports, Police from the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit participated in a raid at Ulrich G. Klopfer’s Women’s Pavilion abortion clinic in South Bend.
Klopfer owns clinics in South Bend, Gary, and Fort Wayne. He was forced to close his clinic in Fort Wayne in January after charges that he ignored child sex abuse reporting laws led his back-up physician to withdraw from his agreement with Klopfer to provide hospital care for medical problems sustained during abortions.
Klopfer could possibly reopen his Fort Wayne clinic, however, if he is able to obtain the services of another back-up physician, said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue.
Klopfer’s problems began when Indiana Right to Life filed 1,200 complaints against him for failure to report child sex abuse and other information that is required by the state. The pro-life group based its complaints on Termination of Pregnancy reports obtained through a public records act request.
The complaints led St. Joseph County Prosecutor Mike Dvorak to ask the Police Special Victim’s Unit to perform a criminal investigation into Klopfer’s activities.
In addition to numerous failure-to-report accusations, no record could be found that Klopfer has admitting privileges to a local hospital or an agreement with another doctor who does have privileges at his Gary abortion clinic.
The primary question that is being asked by pro-life groups is why laws pertaining to abortionists are not being enforced, the same question that was raised repeatedly during the trial last year of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, whose abortion “house of horrors” in Philadelphia was ignored for years by government officials who consistently caved to political pressure.
“I don’t know why no one is enforcing this,” said Right to Life of St. Joseph County Director Jeanette Burdell. “This is the law. Where are the fines? He [Klopfer] comes from Illinois which is where he resides. So a patient of his, in case of complications, needs to have a doctor that can respond to her care – for her sake and her health in a very timely manner.”
According to local CBS affiliate WSBT reporter Kelli Stopczynski, there was indeed no record of Klopfer’s back-up doctor at the local or state health departments or the professional licensing agency.
“It appears that there is no oversight to that portion of the law,” said Indiana Professional Licensing Agency spokeswoman Sue Swayze. “In other words, there’s no state registry for that.”
In an interview with Klopfer, Stopczynski asked about his back-up doctor, a requirement of the law.
“Now a days the majority of medical school graduates become employed in some big corporation where the hospital or otherwise controls and dictates everything you can and cannot do,” Klopfer responded. “For me to divulge information that’s not necessary, I will not.”
Klopfer also indicated that he needed to keep parts of his life private for safety reasons.
“I’ve been stalked, I’ve been shot at, I’ve had three bus loads of people in front of my house,” he said. “No, I’m not going to advertise. I’m sorry, I’m not running for political office.”
Klopfer insisted that he does not have a bad track record and that he still is licensed to practice in Indiana though he’s been asked to appear before the state’s medical licensing board due to comments he recently made to a newspaper about an abortion he performed on a 13 year-old girl.
According to Operation Rescue's claims, however, Klopfer’s record is far from clean.
The pro-life group cites RealChoice.com, which has documented at least seven malpractice suits brought against Klopfer by former patients who allegedly suffered serious complications from his abortion procedures, including perforated uteri, incomplete abortions, and misdiagnosis of age of the fetus. In addition, the women consistently complained of the unsanitary conditions in Klopfer’s clinics.
The South Bend Tribune obtained and published results of state inspections that occurred in 2010 and 2012 at Klopfer’s abortion clinics. The inspection reports reveal dozens of serious violations, yet as reporter Amanda Gray states, “All his clinic licenses are still valid.”
According to Gray’s report, in Indiana, “Abortion clinics are licensed practices and fall under a larger category that includes hospitals, which are also licensed by the state.”
“The state health department is tasked by state statute to license and inspect the abortion clinics,” she continues. “State law is full of rules and regulations clinics must follow and the department inspectors must check for during on-site surveys once every two years -- which will change to once a year, if Gov. Mike Pence signs legislation passed by the General Assembly this year.”
Indiana State Department of health spokesman Ken Severson told Gray that nine inspectors conduct more than 500 surveys a year, and no inspector focuses solely on the state’s nine abortion clinics. Severson said that in the 2012 surveys, abortion clinics in the state averaged 3 to 14 deficiencies. He added that no abortion clinic has ever had a license suspended or revoked due to survey results, and none of Klopfer’s clinics have ever been the recipient of a civil penalty.
According to 2012 survey data for Klopfer’s South Bend clinic, deficiencies were shown in nine categories. Patient charts revealed at least three occasions where abortions were performed within an hour or two of patients having signed consent forms, when the law requires 18 hours between consent and the procedure.
In the same clinic in 2010, 36 violations were discovered, including a medication storage refrigerator found to contain an aborted fetus from a procedure that had occurred two months prior.
The 2012 survey report for Klopfer’s Fort Wayne clinic reveals 15 categories in violation, including staff members not changing scrub jackets between cleaning soiled instruments and other patient care duties.
The 2010 report shows violations in 24 categories, including the discovery of a tank of nitrous oxide that had expired in 1989, as well as poorly maintained emergency response equipment.
Klopfer’s Gary clinic showed violations in 14 categories in 2012. The survey report for the Gary clinic cited numerous problems with personnel files and storage clutter violations “too numerous to list.”
In 2010, 17 categories of violations were revealed in the Gary clinic, including a faulty oxygen cart that would have made the oxygen tank unusable should it have been needed.
Klopfer is scheduled to appear in court in late April in Lake County for an omnibus hearing on charges related to his delayed reporting of an abortion he performed on a 13 year-old girl.
Klopfer’s Fort Wayne Women’s Health Center was the first surgical abortion clinic in the United States to officially close down in 2014 following a record-breaking 2013, during which 87 surgical abortion clinics permanently shut down.