A doctor who runs a South Bend abortion clinic appeared in St. Joseph County traffic and misdemeanor court Friday morning. Dr. Ulrich "George" Klopfer is facing a misdemeanor charge for not reporting an abortion performed on a 13-year-old to the state within the required 3 day window.
Klopfer is facing the same charge for a second alleged incident in Lake County and is also under investigation by Indiana's Attorney General. But Klopfer told WSBT he's done nothing wrong.
From the beginning, Klopfer's said the failure to report the abortions to the Department of Child Services and the State Health Department were clerical errors - even blaming one on a state agency's error. Klopfer stood by those statements Friday.
Klopfer, 73, appeared in court by himself but told a judge he plans to hire an attorney to fight the charge against him in St. Joseph County.
He told WSBT he continues to serve "young women and old women" in St. Joseph County.
"I had a patient [who was] 68 years old come to me the other day. Wow, isn't that amazing?" he said.
When asked if he feels the work he does is important he replied, "Does a 10-year-old girl that gets raped by her father, does she deserve to have the pregnancy be terminated or should she have the child?"
But St. Joseph County Right to Life director Jeanette Burdell, who was also in the courtroom Friday for Klopfer's arraignment, disagreed.
"There are so many other answers," Burdell said. "She needs so much more than an abortion.
She needs so much more. I think everyone would agree that this is child abuse. She needs to be taken by whomever can take care of her and meet out justice."
Klopfer, whose current address is listed in Michigan on court documents, has been performing abortions at his South Bend clinic off Ironwood Road for decades.
In 2013, Right to Life chapters in Allen, Lake and St. Joseph Counties uncovered alleged incidents of failure to report abortions on a girl under 14 years old at each of Klopfer's 3 clinics.
Right to Lifers then sent complaints about that and hundreds of other accusations to the attorney general.
"If she's a victim of rape or incest, that's why there's an importance to the law. And he should be accountable to keeping it, just like all citizens," said Burdell.
When asked if there's anything else he wants people to know about him, Klopfer said, "We're all human beings. We all make mistakes and we have to deal with the consequences. Ok?"
In January, Indiana's Medical Licensing Board asked the attorney general to investigate Klopfer because of remarks he made to news media about the case. A spokesman for the AG's office says the case is currently under review and once it is completed, his office will communicate with the board.
Klopfer's medical licenses are still valid and he is allowed to perform abortions, but the licenses expire October 31st.
Klopfer is currently not allowed to perform abortions at his clinics on Fort Wayne and Gary. He stopped in Fort Wayne late last year because his back up doctor quit working with him when allegations about not reporting abortions on girls under 14 surfaced. Allen County is the only one in the state with a local law that requires abortion doctors to register the name of their back up doctor with the county.
Klopfer does not have a back up doctor in Lake County and a new Indiana law requires all doctors who perform abortions to submit the name of their back up doctor to the state.
He does have a back up doctor in St. Joseph County, but the state keeps that information private.
Burdell said she believes Klopfer is still advising patients at the other two offices and performing their abortions in South Bend.
He's due back in court August 1.