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Investigation continues after thousands of preserved fetal remains found on deceased doctor’s property

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WILL COUNTY, Ill. — Few details have been released so far about the investigation into the thousands of preserved fetal remains found on a deceased doctor’s property.

According to the Will County Sheriff’s Office, the attorney for Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s family contacted them on Thursday informing them of the discovery of 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains.

The attorney said the remains were found while going through Klopfer’s property and contacted the coroner to request proper removal.

Sheriff’s detectives, Crime Scene Investigators and representatives from the coroner’s office arrived at the address and took possession of the remains.

Authorities said there is no evidence that any medical procedures were conducted at the property.

Police said the doctor’s family is cooperating fully with this investigation.

Klopfer was a doctor who performed abortions in Indiana and had practices in Gary, Fort Wayne and most recently, South Bend. All three shut down several years ago.

The Indiana State Department of Health had previously issued complaints against the South Bend clinic, accusing it of lacking a registry of patients, policies regarding medical abortion, and a governing body to determine policies.

The state agency also accused the clinic of failing to document that patients get state-mandated education at least 18 hours before an abortion.

Klopfer was believed to be Indiana's most prolific abortion doctor, with thousands of procedures performed in multiple Indiana counties over several decades, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Mike Fichter, the president of Indiana Right to Life, said in a statement sent Friday night that "we are horrified" by the discovery of the fetal remains at Klopfer's Illinois residence. He called for Indiana authorities to help determine whether those remains have any connection to abortion operations in Indiana.

"These sickening reports underscore why the abortion industry must be held to the highest scrutiny," Fichter said in the statement.

A message left Saturday by The Associated Press for a spokesman for Gov. Eric Holcomb asking if Indiana officials would investigate was not immediately returned.

Klopfer's license was suspended by Indiana's Medical Licensing Board in November 2016 after the panel found a number of violations, including a failure to ensure that qualified staff was present when patients received or recovered from medications given before and during abortion procedures.

Klopfer was no longer practicing by that time, but he told the panel he had never lost a patient in 43 years of doing abortions and that he hoped to eventually re-open his clinics.

In June 2014, Klopfer was charged in St. Joseph County, Indiana, with a misdemeanor for failure to file a timely public report. He was accused of waiting months to report an abortion he provided to a 13-year-old girl in South Bend. That charge was later dropped after Klopfer completed a pre-trial diversion program.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, called the discovery of the fetal remains "sickening beyond words" in a statement released by her office.

"He was responsible for thousands of abortions in Indiana, and his careless treatment of human remains is an outrage," she said in her statement.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Indiana law requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains following abortions in the state. That law was signed by Vice President Mike Pence in 2016 when he was Indiana's governor, but it was the subject of legal challenges.

The Indiana State Department of Health, which oversees abortion clinic regulation, has integrated that law's provisions into the agency's existing licensing process.

Prior to the ruling, Indiana clinics could turn over fetal remains to processors who handle the disposal of human tissues or other medical material by incineration.

 

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