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13-year-old's abortion results in complaints against local clinic

Lack of timely report violated state law, right-to-life group says

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 9:28 am

An abortion apparently performed on a 13-year-old patient earlier this year has resulted in a pair of legal complaints filed against a doctor who practices one day a week in Fort Wayne.

The documents, expected to be filed today with the Indiana Attorney General's office and the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, state that Dr. Ulrich Klopfer of Illinois, who performs abortion in Fort Wayne at 2210 Inwood Drive, failed to report an abortion he performed on a 13-year-old as required by state law. The age of the patient surfaced as Allen County Right to Life Executive Director, Cathie Humbarger, reviewed publicly available terminated pregnancy reports. The pregnancy report, filed with the State Department of Health, appears to confirm the allegation.

Humbarger said the report also shows that abortion performed at the Fort Wayne Women's Health Organization on Feb. 7 was not received by the Health Department until July 25, not within three days of the procedure as specified by law. Similar complaints were filed with the Attorney General's office and the Indiana Medical Licensing Board by sidewalk counselor Evelyn Witte of Fort Wayne.

Humbarger said she regularly checks the termination reports to monitor Klopfer's activities.

“It's heartbreaking to learn that a 13-year-old became pregnant and now must live with the pain of an abortion for the rest of her life,” Humbarger said in a statement. “But it's doubly-heartbreaking that Dr. Klopfer's failure to report the abortion may have allowed the girl's molester to walk. In Indiana, sex with a person under 14 is recognized as child molesting, regardless of the male's age.

Humbarger told The News-Sentinel she filed a similar complaint last year after Klopfer allegedly performed an abortion on a 13-year-old in Lake County. “It can take a year” to resolve such a complaint, she said.

Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, added in a statement that “Klopfer's failure to report this abortion raises serious red flags about his abortion business. If he fails to send in a one-page form when he does an abortion on a 13-year-old, how can anyone know if he is following state abortion law in other areas such as informed consent, facility standards and appropriately determining the age of the baby before he aborts him or her?”

Abortions performed on girls younger than 14 has been a contentious issue in Indiana for years. In 2005, then-Attorney General Steve Carter asked Planned Parenthood clinics for records that might help identify men who had committed a sexual crime, and the organization responded by suing the state on the grounds of privacy, even though Carter promised to keep the girls' names confidential.

Last year, Humbarger filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against Klopfer's Fort Wayne clinic, claiming its lack of a wheel-chair ramp and parking spaces for the disabled violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Justice Department, however, “said they were too busy. So it's a dead end,” she said.

A clinic employee declined to comment today.