Fort Wayne, Indiana Reconsiders Measure for Admitting Privileges on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fort Wayne, Indiana Reconsiders Measure for Admitting Privileges on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 28
, 2009

Fort Wayne, IN ( — Legalizing abortion didn’t make the procedure any safer for women. Because so many suffer from botched abortions that require immediate follow-up medical care, the Fort Wayne, Indiana county commission is considering a landmark measure.

The proposed ordinance would require abortion practitioners operating in the county to have admitting privileges at a local hospital so they can admit patients who are victimized by failed abortions.

Anyone who does abortions in Fort Wayne but does not have admitting privileges will be prohibited from doing abortions.

Fort Wayne officials proposed the ordinance in 2008 but never moved forward on it because the state legislature considered a similar measure. In other states where the proposal has gained traction, it has resulted in shutting down abortion centers that can’t provide medical care for women in botched abortions.

With the Indiana legislature not acting on the legislation, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters is expected to reintroduced the provision today. He is expanding it from solely focusing on abortion to covering other medical procedures.

“It’s intended to enhance patient safety, and perhaps now the state will have to get involved,” he told the News-Sentinel newspaper.

The proposal would make it so abortion practitioners must have a designated on-call doctor with privileges at an Allen County hospital.

Cathie Humbarger, executive director of the Allen County Right to Life Committee, told the paper her group supports the new measure.

“The best way to do this would be at the state level,” Humbarger said, “but if not, we’re thrilled it’s happening at the local level. That’s government at its finest.”

When the measure came up in August 2008, it came about because of problems with doctors having to take care of patients seen by out-of-state abortion practitioner George Klopfer at the Fort Wayne Women’s Health Organization.

He also does abortions in South Bend and Gary and physicians have had to care for patients who have been injured by the abortions and required hospitalizations.

Dr. Geoff Cly, a Fort Wayne gynecologist who has treated several of Klopfer’s patients after failed abortions, told the Fort Wayne newspaper at the time the bill is needed.

"I’m disappointed because patients are being harmed and the powers that be aren’t taking action to protect the women," Cly said. "How can we hold him accountable like the rest of surgeons? Admission privileges are one way. If anyone has any other ways, let me know."

The bill came after Vanderburgh County approved a local measure in 2008 making sure abortion practitioners there have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter told previously, "Regardless of how you feel about the issue of abortion, everyone should applaud the Vanderburgh County Commission for taking this proactive step in making sure that proper safety requirements are in place if a woman experiences complications after an abortion."

Legislative attempts in 2007 and 2008 to enact statewide hospital admitting privileges requirements for doctors performing abortions were approved in the Indiana Senate with overwhelming numbers only to be defeated in the Indiana House by hostile committee assignments.

According to Americans United for Life, a national pro-life group that promotes state legislation, abortion practitioners in eleven states are required to maintain local hospital admitting privileges.

These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

The Vanderburgh County ordinance is thought to be the first locally-passed ordinance addressing the issue.

Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life –

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