Attorney General Curtis Hill said Friday that his office will transport the remains of 2,246 fetuses back to Indiana after they were discovered earlier this month at the Illinois home of the late Dr. Ulrich Klopfer. A preliminary investigation indicates all the fetuses were aborted by Dr. Klopfer at Indiana clinics located in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend.
“We are going to continue this matter to determine as best we can exactly what happened here,” Attorney General Hill said at a press conference. “But in the meantime, I can tell you that we are going to bring our babies home and make sure they are treated with the proper dignity and respect deserving of anyone.”
Following Dr. Klopfer’s Sept. 3 death, Illinois authorities on Sept. 12 learned that family members going through his belongings found the preserved fetal remains stored at his residence. Since learning the fetuses are from Indiana, Illinois officials have turned over information and evidence to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. The preliminary investigation has revealed that the fetuses were aborted from the years 2000 to 2002.
Besides ensuring that the remains receive appropriate disposition under Indiana law, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General is also working to preserve and protect thousands of medical records found both at Dr. Klopfer’s Illinois residence and at his abandoned Indiana abortion clinics. On Thursday, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General executed search warrants at the Indiana locations and took possession of records left at those properties. No additional fetal remains were discovered in Indiana.
“We have a concern about the abandoned records,” Attorney General Hill said. “Folks who use these clinics have a high degree of expectation of privacy and confidentiality. . . . It’s deplorable now that folks who went into this procedure, no matter how you feel about this procedure, have to relive that moment” with such uncertainty about the final disposition of the aborted fetus.
Attorney General Hill expressed gratitude for the cooperation of multiple other offices and agencies, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul; the coroner’s office and law enforcement in Will County, Illinois; prosecutors in Allen, Lake and St. Joseph counties; the Hobart, Fort Wayne and South Bend police departments; and the Indiana State Police. In addition, he acknowledged Indiana legislators who have urged Attorney General Hill to investigate the matter.
At the press conference, Attorney General Hill also announced that his office has set up a phone number and email address for the specific use of anyone with possible connections to the fetal remains who may wish to inquire. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the phone number is (317) 234-6663.
In 2016, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law requiring that medical facilities either bury or cremate fetal remains following abortions. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law. The disturbing chain of events surrounding Dr. Klopfer’s actions demonstrates the need for state laws regulating the final disposition of fetal remains, Attorney General Hill said.