About 200 pro-lifers gathered on Wednesday around a closed Indiana abortion facility to mark the end of a business that killed an estimated 35,000 unborn babies.
The Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana closed in March after the state found numerous health and safety violations and revoked the facility’s operating license. Abortionist Ulrich Klopfer also was charged with failing to report suspected child sexual abuse of two 13-year-old rape victims.
During its more than 30 years of performing abortions, the Pavilion endangered women through failure to report child sex abuse, use of faulty emergency equipment, and other major violations, LifeNews reported.
On Wednesday, local pro-lifers held a prayer vigil to celebrate the now-closed facility and to mourn the lives that were lost there, the South Bend Tribune reports.
Jeanette Burdell, executive director of the Right to Life St. Joseph County, told the newspaper that there was a mixture of emotions in the group.
“There is heavy heartedness and sadness over the lives that no longer exist in our community,” Burdell said. “I am grateful that for at least nine months, we have not had an abortion facility for the first time in years in our community.”
The Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend, spoke to the crowd of about 200 people. He said the number of unborn babies who lost their lives inside the facility was “pretty staggering.”
“But we also have hope, and I just hope and pray that we see a new birth of respect for human life in our culture and that we are doing all we can to make sure we see life as a gift and not a burden,” Rhoades said.
Late in March, abortion activists held their own rally to protest the closure of the abortion facility, ignoring its horrendous reputation.
The closure of the abortion facility was a long process. In 2013, volunteers with Indiana Right to Life filed 1,200 complaints against Klopfer for not reporting child sex abuse and other information required by the state. The complaints were based on Termination of Pregnancy reports obtained by the pro-life group through a public records request.
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The complaints prompted St. Joseph County Prosecutor Mike Dvorak to ask the Police Special Victim’s Unit to conduct a criminal investigation into the abortionist’s activities.
Women’s Pavilion was raided by police serving a search warrant in March 2014. Violations that authorities found at that time included failure to comply with the 18-hour waiting period between the signing of consent forms and the abortion; remains from an aborted baby stored in the same refrigerator as medications; and oxygen tanks and other emergency equipment lacking proper maintenance or just not working, among other violations.
When the abortion clinic closed in March, Cathie Humbarger, Indiana Right to Life’s Vice President of Policy Enforcement, said they were relieved to hear that Klopfer finally was being held accountable.
“Years of shoddy abortion practices have finally caught up with Dr. Klopfer,” Humbarger said. “We extend our appreciation to the Pence administration and the ISDH for refusing to sweep Klopfer’s shady practices under the rug. It’s a good day for the health and safety of Hoosier women.”
Klopfer once operated three abortion clinics in Indiana. His Fort Wayne facility halted abortions in 2014, and he surrendered his Gary facility license in 2015. The termination of abortion services at Women’s Pavilion in South Bend put an end to Klopfer’s abortion empire.