Amid calls for an investigation into an abortion doctor whose clinic he defended last month, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has finally publicly responded — and made sure to work in a defense of abortion in the process.
In a gruesome development reminiscent of the case of serial killer abortionist Kermit Gosnell, authorities found over 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains at the home of recently deceased abortion doctor Ulrich “George” Klopfer, whose clinic, the Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend, was forced to close down in 2016 over numerous code violations of reporting and record-keeping but then allowed to reopen this year without a license. Buttigieg notably defended the unlicensed abortion clinic in August by framing its closure as part of an “extreme assault on Roe v. Wade.”
“The mayor is deeply concerned by what he views as a new and extreme assault on Roe v. Wade in legislatures across the country,” Buttigieg’s national press secretary Chris Meagher said in August. “He believes that the truly radical idea in this debate and around abortion care is one of banning abortion outright. The South Bend clinic would be the only one for a radius of several counties. It is a restriction on a woman’s right if she is low-income, or doesn’t have a vehicle, and she has to visit multiple times, but the clinic is dozens of miles away.”
After being conspicuously silent on the findings of the abortionist this weekend — even after Indiana’s governor and the White House called for an investigation — Buttigieg finally addressed the controversy on Wednesday.
“Like everyone, I find the news out of Illinois, extremely disturbing,” Buttigieg told reporters (video below). “I think it’s important that that be fully investigated. I also hope that it doesn’t get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to health care. There’s no question that what happened here is disturbing, it’s unacceptable and it needs to be looked at.”
As explained by Townhall, Klopfer had clinics in multiple cities in Indiana; his South Bend clinic was in operation for four years under Buttigieg, who was elected in 2012, but finally closed down in 2016 after multiple reporting and record-maintenance violations. After two years of appeals, the clinic was allowed to reopen on June 27, despite still being unlicensed, a move Buttigieg strongly supported.
The mainstream media has largely ignored the unsettling case of Klopfer. In an op-ed for USA Today published Wednesday, David Mastio notes that a study by the Media Research Center found that the story was largely blacked out by the networks. “At my request, the conservative Media Research Center looked into coverage of Klopfer and found little interest,” Mastio writes. “No coverage on the nightly broadcast news. Nothing on MSNBC. A story on CNN and a few on Fox News. Nationalnewspapers [sic] each handled it with one or two stories.”
As reported by Real Clear Investigations‘ Philip Wegmann Monday, a growing number of politicians are demanding an investigation into Klopfer and his clinics.
“We need to determine how Dr. Klopfer was able to get away with this for so long, and how we only know about it now that Dr. Klopfer is deceased,” Rep. Jim Banks told RCP over the weekend.
“I am deeply disturbed that more than 2,000 fetal remains were found at the Illinois home of a deceased former northern Indiana abortion doctor,” Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday, as first reported by RCP. “I support calls for a federal investigation.”
Vice President Mike Pence then weighed in on the case, tweeting Monday that what authorities found at Klopfer’s was “appalling & should shock the conscience of every American.” He also noted that while he was governor of Indiana, “we took his medical license away & passed a law requiring fetal remains be treated with dignity.”
“The White House echoed that sentiment, confirming to RealClearPolitics that the administration will call for a full federal investigation,” Wegmann reported Wednesday. “Deputy Communications Director Judd Deere said in a statement that the White House was ‘horrified’ and compared the gruesome discovery ‘to the atrocities of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’ – who was convicted in 2013 of murdering three infants that were born alive during attempted abortions.”
“Murdering thousands of innocent babies is one thing, but preserving and hoarding their bodies like trophies is a new level of sickness,” Deere continued, as reported by Wegmann. “The radical left now defends late-term abortions, including infanticide, while President Trump protects our most innocent and vulnerable, and defends the dignity of life. A full investigation is needed to determine whether crimes were committed and if anyone else was involved.”
As highlighted by Mastio, in his defense of his practices and his clinics, Klopfer “recounted how he performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle, never reporting the crime to police and, as a result, helping her parents cover up the atrocity by a family member.” He was also “previously charged with failing to report performing abortions on two 13-year-olds.”