Anti-abortion activists turn out for doctor's hearing

2014-04-24T18:15:00Z 2014-04-24T21:27:11Z Anti-abortion activists turn out for doctor's hearingLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 24, 2014 6:15 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | More than three dozen anti-abortion activists showed up Thursday for a hearing in the case of a physician charged with failing to report within three days an abortion he performed on a 13-year-old girl in 2012.

However, the hearing for Dr. Ulrich G. Klopfer, 73, ended swiftly with a continuance to June 16. Defense attorney Richard Wolter Jr. said he needed more time to obtain a deposition from a person with knowledge of the case.

Lake Superior Court Judge Nicholas Schiralli granted the continuance in a session lasting about three minutes.

Klopfer, of Crete, performs abortions in St. Joseph, Allen, Monroe and Lake counties, and is the sole abortion provider in St. Joseph County. He did not appear in court Thursday.

According to court records, Klopfer performed the abortion in Lake County on a 13-year-old girl who was 11 weeks pregnant Sept. 28, 2012. He allegedly did not report the abortion in accordance with state law within the required three days.

He faces Class B misdemeanor charges in the Lake County case. This is one of several cases pending against Klopfer alleging he failed to report abortions he performed on girls younger than 14.

In another case in St. Joseph County, Klopfer allegedly performed an abortion on a 13-year-old girl at the South Bend Women’s Pavilion on Jan. 25, 2013. However, state records show the procedure wasn’t reported until July 25, six months later.

The state law Klopfer is charged with violating received bipartisan support in 2011 from the Indiana General Assembly. Written by Indiana Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greenburg, a longtime firefighter, the law was designed to shine a light on cases of sexual abuse against young girls, he said in an interview with the South Bend Tribune.

As a firefighter, Frye said he often was called to emergencies where a young girl was in labor, only to later learn that the pregnancy was the result of sexual abuse.

“The intent of the law is to protect these young girls,” Frye said in that interview. “I can’t imagine being in their situation, but I thought that someone should stand up for them.”

In addition to the three-day reporting deadline, Indiana law requires doctors to include the father’s name and age, if known. That information gives officials and law enforcement officers another tool to use in stopping sexual abuse, rape and human trafficking, according to published reports.

Ellen Masters, director at Apostolate of Divine Mercy in South Bend, traveled to Crown Point for the hearing.

“We purchased the building to the left of the abortion clinic. I was there when Dr. Klopfer’s records were confiscated,” Masters said. “I want to see what happens (at the hearing).”

She said she was disappointed in Thursday’s outcome but would be back in June.

Lynne Scherschel, vice president of Lake County Right to Life, said Northwest Indiana anti-abortion activists would be back for the June 16 hearing.

“This is important,” she said. “It’s an important law.”

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