Allen County Right to Life press advisory on patient safety ruling issued by federal judge

August 13, 2010

Press Contact: Cathie Humbarger, Executive Director-Allen County Right to Life

3409 Conestoga Drive, Suite A, Fort Wayne, IN 46808

(260) 471-1849 Office (260) 615-1961 Cell

cathie.humbarger@ichooselife.org

August 12, 2010

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

US DISTRICT COURT RULES MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF PATIENT SAFETY ORDINANCE CAN GO INTO EFFECT
In a ruling handed down today by the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, most of an abortion provider’s motion to stop critical aspects of a new Patient Safety Ordinance was denied. The Court acknowledged the home rule right of the Allen County Board of Commissioners to enact legislation protecting patients of itinerant doctors, including but not limited to, mothers who have been treated by local abortionist Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, denying him a substantial part of his motion for preliminary injunction, and allowing continued enforcement of the most vital provisions of the ordinance. Klopfer represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit in May attacking the county’s new ordinance, designed to protect patient health and safety in Allen County. Cathie Humbarger Executive Director of Allen County Right to Life said, “The Allen County Right to Life Committee is extremely pleased with this first round win supporting the efforts of the Allen County Commissioners to protect the well being of patients treated by itinerant physicians in our county.”

Following is a statement from Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden who is participating in the defense of Allen County in this case:
“A patient’s health is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line. The county simply can’t put the health and safety of patients at risk because one man wants to perform abortions without a sensible safety precaution that applies to all out-of-town physicians, not just abortionists. The ordinance is very clearly designed to make sure that patients receive appropriate treatment in a medical emergency that can arise after an itinerant physician has gone back home and is no longer available to care for the patient.”

The Alliance Defense Fund explains that the provisions of the new rule requires that itinerant physicians–those who only have part-time or temporary offices in the county–must provide patients and area hospitals with 24-hour contact information and the name of a second physician designated for patient follow-up. The information is necessary in the event of medical emergencies that arise from the treatment itinerant doctors provide, as they are not always available after they leave the county and return home.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana issued a preliminary injunction against some aspects of the ordinance involving health department inspections but is allowing most of the ordinance’s provisions to go into effect while litigation over the new law continues.

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