By Dave Andrusko
Last week we congratulated Amanda Gray of the South Bend Tribune for a terrific story in which she wrote, “At least four Indiana doctors have waited weeks or even months to report abortions provided to girls under 14 despite a law requiring them to do so, according to state records.”
One of those “doctors”—abortionist Ulrich Klopfer—has now admitted to Gray that he’d made an “honest mistake” in “failing to report two abortions he performed on girls younger than 14 from Gary in 2012 and South Bend in 2013” but also insisted that “state records that he took six months to report a Feb. 7 abortion of a young teen in Fort Wayne are in error.”
When the girl is 13 and younger, the abortionist has three days under Indiana law to report to both the Indiana State Department of Health and the Department of Child Services within three days. Breaking the law is a Class B misdemeanor.
“The law, intended to speed up reporting of statutory rape and sexual abuse, is part of a larger requirement for all Indiana abortions to be reported every six months,” Gray reported. Based in Illinois, Klopfer does abortions in clinics in St. Joseph, Allen, and Lake counties in Indiana.
Klopfer clearly has a different understanding of how to report abortions performed on very young girls than do the authors of the 2011 law which passed overwhelmingly. For example, he told Gray that abortion data should be kept but reports should not be public record.
Allen County Right to Life Executive Director Cathie Humbarger reviewed the publicly-available records which showed that Klopfer performed an abortion on a 13-year-old girl on February 7 but the Indiana Department of Health reported receiving the report on July 25. (This is the abortion report that Klopfer insists he filed properly.) On September 13, Humbarger and Evelyn Witte filed complaints with the Indiana Attorney General’s office and the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.
But Klopfer’s most revealing comments came later in Gray’s story.
“Klopfer also said he gives parents of underage girls information on their options, including the option to take their daughters to Ohio or Illinois for an abortion because those states don’t have such detailed reports.
“‘I’m here to help those who want my help,’ Klopfer said. ‘I’m not here to judge.’
“Girls who are pregnant in Indiana are not required to have abortions in Indiana, Klopfer reasoned.
“’What I’ve told people is that it’s state law,’ he said. ‘I tell them that when someone under 14 gets an abortion, I have to report it to the state in three days. I give parents the option.
“’We have to accept that women get pregnant and sometimes they don’t want to be,’ he said later. ‘They shouldn’t have to carry that pregnancy to term. It’s my responsibility to tell the parents about the law.’”
Timely reporting of young teen abortions is critical to the investigations of possible abuse, according to prosecutors and child safety advocates.
“What we know is that some sex offenders have more than one victim,” Jennifer Pickering, spokeswoman for Prevent Child Abuse St. Joseph County, told Gray. “The sooner the opportunity arises to investigate, the sooner DCS [Department of Child Services], can get involved and the sooner you can assure that girl is safe and determine if there are any other victims.”
When Humbarger and Witte filed their complaint against Klopfer back in September, Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life said
“Indiana law is very clear about what needs to be reported, to whom and when reporting must take place regarding abortions on girls under 14 years of age. The law, instructions for reporting and violation details are printed at the top of each terminated pregnancy report. 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?”