Thousands of Fetuses Hoarded by Deceased Abortion Doctor Buried in Indiana
Should the remains of aborted fetuses be respectfully cremated or interred?
by Causes | 2.13.20
UPDATED - 2/13/2020: The remains of 2,411 fetuses found at the home and in the vehicle of deceased abortion provider Dr. Ulrich Klopfer were buried together Wednesday at a donated plot in South Bend, Indiana. Officials said the remains, which were from the 2000-2003 period, and the burial was done in compliance with a state law from 2016 requiring the dignified disposal of the remains of aborted fetuses. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill (R) presided over the ceremony, and explained:
"While it would have been preferable to return the remains to each city where the procedure took place, that was not possible, due to the degradation of the remains and the unreliability of the records."
Hill said that the investigation hasn't discovered Klopfer's motivation for keeping the remains of the aborted fetuses, many of which were in plastic bags or boxes, and that his intent may never be known.
Countable's original article appears below.
In September 2019, the medically preserved remains of 2,246 aborted fetuses were found at the home of Indiana abortion doctor Ulrich “George” Klopfer, after his death several days before the discovery. A bill in Congress now would require that the remains of aborted fetuses be disposed of respectfully through cremation or interment, and impose criminal penalties for the failure to do so.
What’s the story?
Dr. Klopfer, a resident of Illinois, operated primarily out of a South Bend, Indiana abortion clinic and also practiced in Gary and Fort Wayne from 1978 until 2016. During that time, he was believed to be “Indiana’s most prolific abortion doctor” according to the South Bend Tribune. His work came to an end in 2016, when the Indiana Medical Licensing Board suspended his medical license for his failure to provide reasonable care to patients and violating several notice and documentation requirements.
Following the gruesome discovery of the remains of 2,246 aborted fetuses at Klopfer’s home, the attorneys general of Indiana and Illinois launched an investigation. Klopfer’s possession of those fetal remains was a violation of an Indiana law requiring burial or cremation of aborted fetuses that was signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) in 2016 and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.
Vice President Pence tweeted that Klopfer’s conduct was “appalling and should shock the conscience of every American”, and the Trump administration has signaled it will call for a federal investigation.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is pursuing the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called the discovery “extremely disturbing” and expressed his “hope that it doesn’t get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to healthcare.”
What would the bill do?
Introduced by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), the Dignity for Aborted Children Act (S. 2590) would require either the abortion provider or the patient to take possession of the tissue of an aborted fetus and dispose of the remains through cremation or interment.
Failure to do so would be punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment (the patient wouldn’t be subject to prosecution). The bill would also require annual reports about the number of abortions performed in each state and methods of disposal.
It has the support of 21 cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.
What are both sides saying?
Braun offered the following statement on the bill’s introduction:
"The discovery of thousands of fetal remains in an Indiana abortionist's home horrified every American who respects the sanctity of life, and highlighted a disturbing trend that Indiana has taken the lead in rectifying. All human remains, regardless of stage of life, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I'm proud to introduce the Dignity for Aborted Children Act to ensure that grotesque collections like Dr. Klopfer's can't be allowed to happen ever again."
Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health which began operating in Indiana after Klopfer’s clinic was shut down, expressed opposition to laws requiring the cremation or interment of aborted fetuses:
“To require cremation or burial will add costs, but it also adds another potential arena for regulatory interference, and that to me is the secondary behind-the-scenes objective of the anti-abortion folks with this trend in legislation. They couch it in concern for the embryo, but in essence it is actually another tactical barrier and backdoor way to shutter access and potentially close clinics, without overturning Roe.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / rusak)
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