South Bend, Ind., Jan 2, 2020 / 05:09 pm (CNA).- After an Indiana abortion doctor hoarded more than 2,400 sets of unborn babies’ remains dating back nearly 20 years, the state’s attorney general has pledged to secure them a decent burial. He said the case shows the need for strong laws regulating the bodies of aborted babies.
“The troubling discovery of 2,411 fetal remains from Indiana abortion clinics was a shock to our state and our nation alike, and my office is proud to lead the investigation of this horrific situation to bring answers and closure to all those impacted,” Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said in the December 2019 preliminary report put out by his office.
“My office continues to work diligently on the investigation of the circumstances leading to this discovery, and I intend to provide for a dignified burial of these remains in accordance with Indiana law so these remains may finally rest in peace,” said Hill.
The report said that the preliminary investigation found that the late Indiana abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer failed to properly dispose of fetal remains as required by Indiana law.
Days after the 79-year-old’s death on Sept. 3, 2019, relatives alerted local Will County, Illinois authorities to the discovery of fetal remains at his Illinois residence. Authorities found medically-preserved fetal remains of 2,246 babies at his home, along with patient records.
Another 165 sets of fetal remains were discovered in October 2019 in a car at a Chicago-area business where Klopfer kept several cars. The trunk of the vehicle had five plastic bags and one box that contained fetal remains.
Klopfer had performed obstetrics, gynecological services, and surgical and medical abortions at clinics in Fort Wayne, Gary, and South Bend, Indiana. He was estimated to have aborted more than 30,000 children over a span of four decades. Investigators now believe the thousands of sets of remains come from abortions performed at the three Indiana clinics. Some remains also come from abortions performed in 2003, and not only from 2000 to 2002 as previously thought, the Associated Press reports.
The report from the Indiana attorney general’s office said “it is not possible to make an independent verification of the identities of the individual fetal remains.” A final report will be released in the upcoming months.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend has offered to have the fetal remains buried at a Catholic cemetery in his diocese.
In his report, Hill said the case “exemplifies the need for strong laws to ensure the dignified disposition of fetal remains.” He cited a 2016 law passed by the Indiana legislature and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019.
The attorney general’s office has created a phone number and email address for anyone with possible connections to the fetal remains who may have questions.
Thousands of patient records were abandoned at Klopfer’s abortion clinics and other properties. These records will be maintained and kept secure “until such a time as they can be disposed of properly,” the Indiana Attorney General’s office said. The investigation found Klopfer failed to properly dispose of patient health records and to notify patients regarding their records from his medical practice.
Klopfer’s medical license was suspended by the state of Indiana in 2015 and indefinitely in 2016, after numerous complaints were made against him. He admitted to performing abortions on two 13-year-old girls and failed to report the cases to the state in a timely manner. His Fort Wayne clinic was reported by the state’s medical board to be “rundown,” and he charged adult patients extra for pain medication.
He also admitted to performing an abortion on a 10-year-old girl in Illinois, who had been raped by her uncle, and not reporting her case to authorities.
U.S. Sens. Young and Braun have petitioned the office of U.S. Attorney General William Barr for assistance in the current multi-state investigation into Klopfer. Their petition was joined by 65 Members in the House of Representatives.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, said that he found the discovery to be “extremely disturbing” and he supported an investigation. He also said that he hopes it is not used to further restrict abortion rights.
“I hope that it doesn’t get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to healthcare,” he added.
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) has introduced the federal Dignity for Aborted Children Act, which he said would prevent similar cases by requiring that the remains of aborted children be given proper burial and respect.
The legislation’s multiple co-sponsors, who are all Republican, include Indiana’s other U.S. Sen. Todd Young.