Indiana Abortion Advocates Challenge Fort Wayne Measure for Women’s Safety
by Steven Ertelt
May 31, 2010
Fort Wayne, IN (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates say they want safe abortions, but they are challenging a new Fort Wayne, Indiana measure designed to keep women’s health and safety in mind. In April, the county commissioners approved an ordinance cracking down on botched abortions that injure women.
Because so many women suffer from botched abortions that require immediate follow-up medical care, local officials approved what it said is a needed ordinance.
It requires any abortion practitioners coming to Fort Wayne from out of town to inform a local hospital because they would not have proper admitting privileges to admit women who are victimized by failed abortions and need immediate medical care.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, both pro-abortion legal groups, filed a lawsuit against the Patient Safety Ordinance.
Their suit alleges the act creates an undue burden on women seeking abortions, even though it only applies to out-of-state abortion practitioners. It requests that a judge block the ordinance before it is slated to take effect on Tuesday.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is named as the defendent in the pro-abortion lawsuit filed for abortion practitioner George Klopfer, the out-of-state man who runs the Fort Wayne abortion business and is the abortion practitioner who has injured women whmo local physicians have had to help afterwards.
The suit also says the county has no right to pass an ordinance on abortion when the state passes law pertaining to abortions.
After the state legislature looked at a bill to require a similar registration from abortion practitioners but county officials moved ahead when the bill failed.
Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters move forward and told the News-Sentinel newspaper, It’s intended to enhance patient safety, and perhaps now the state will have to get involved."
Cathie Humbarger, executive director of the Allen County Right to Life Committee, told the paper her group supports the new measure, which it reportedly helped write.
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 Klopfer.
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."
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.
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.
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