A Christmas message from President and CEO Mike Fichter

December 23, 2013

Christmas star on blue skyWelcome to the Christmas message I almost didn’t write.

It’s not that the need to write this message hasn’t been on my mind, or Christmas for that matter. But as you may be able to relate, this year seems unusually busy and in some ways, unusually urgent. Mix together busyness and urgency and you have a bad combination for writing any type of message without compromising authenticity. The result? A serious case of writer’s block. I waited far too long to craft these thoughts, but as I sat at my desk on an early December morning, I knew one thing clearly: I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.

This whole process has helped me to grasp how missed opportunity lies at the very heart of the Christmas story. There was no room in Bethlehem for a young man and his beloved betrothed, even as she bore the strain and exhaustion of traveling such an unthinkable distance for one in such an advanced stage of pregnancy. One can only imagine the fear and desperation in Joseph’s eyes as he moved from door to door, seeking anyone who would invite them in, even as Mary’s own eyes spoke to him in saying, “it is time”.

It was indeed time. And so He was born, the King of Kings, worthy of service by myriads of the heavenly hosts, in a rude setting where no one on earth would expect to find the Messiah.

Bethlehem had missed its great opportunity.

Thirty-three years later, the One who healed the sick, made the blind to see, and even kneeled to wash the feet of His closest friends, was beaten, scourged, spit upon, and nailed to a Roman cross between two thieves. He came to seek the lost, knocking on the door of men’s hearts, seeking all who would invite Him in. He was paid back with a crown of thorns. Yet even as His royal heartbeat slowly began to fade, He lovingly spoke between agonizing breaths, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

This is the Christmas story. Yet for so many, then and now, He remains the greatest missed opportunity in a world fruitlessly searching for hope in someone or something else.

And so I write this Christmas message to myself as much as I write it to you: don’t miss the opportunities God gives you in life. Celebrate the little things. Focus on what really matters. Eliminate meaningless distractions. Give joyfully of your time and treasure. Place God first above else.

Every beat of your heart is a gift from the same God who knit you together in your mother’s womb. Is serving Him by speaking for the unborn your great opportunity? Please don’t let it slip by.

More than 1,200 complaints filed against South Bend abortion doctor

December 20, 2013

SOUTH BEND, IND. – Yesterday, representatives from Indiana Right to Life, St. Joseph County Right to Life and the South Bend pro-life community hosted a press conference in South Bend to announce more than 1,200 consumer complaints against South Bend Women’s Pavillion doctor, Dr. Ulrich Klopfer. The complaints are the result of 1,494 errors and omissions made by Klopfer between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013 on terminated pregnancy reports that doctors are required by Indiana law to file for every abortion they perform. These complaints more than double the number of complaints currently pending against Klopfer.

In October, 17 women filed nearly 500 complaints against Klopfer for errors and omissions on reports regarding abortions in Fort Wayne and on Dec. 3, 20 women filed more than 600 complaints against Klopfer for errors and omissions on reports regarding abortions in Gary.

The complainants are women from St. Joseph County. In their complaints, they are requesting the immediate suspension of Klopfer’s medical license, pending a full investigation. Local Right to Life leaders are also requesting a meeting of the county prosecutor as he has the authority to bring criminal charges against Klopfer. Indiana law states that failure to complete and submit the report on time carries a Class B misdemeanor charge.

“The sheer numbers of errors and omissions on these terminated pregnancy reports is simply jaw-dropping,” stated Tom Gill, President of St. Joseph County Right to Life. “A few errors and omissions could be understandable, but 1,494 is incredible. If Dr. Ulrich Klopfer can’t get his paperwork in order, how can he be allowed to run a business that profits off of invasive surgical procedures on women? These errors and omissions are careless and we call on authorities to investigate why this doctor has submitted reports with substantial errors and omissions for years.”

“Today’s complaints show that Dr. Klopfer is demonstrating sloppy work at all three of his abortion facilities,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “We thought the volume of errors and omissions from Lake and Allen Counties was alarming, but here the total number is an astounding 1,494. Terminated pregnancy reports are important for health and safety accountability measures at these facilities. Dr. Klopfer’s pattern of sloppy reports show he doesn’t fully value the health and safety of his patients.”

“Proper reports are important to our community and to the health and safety of women seeking abortions,” stated Gill. “This isn’t the first time the community has learned that Dr. Klopfer has failed to meet state-required reporting requirements. Dr. Klopfer has also improperly reported abortions on 13-year-olds as required by law to protect young girls from child abuse. We call on the state and local authorities to take action immediately.”

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

Fort Wayne Abortionist Loses “Back-Up” Doctor Required by Law

December 12, 2013

Back-up Doctor Terminates Relationship Due to Improper Handling of 13-Year-Old Abortions

FORT WAYNE, IND. – Indiana Right to Life and Allen County Right to Life learned today that the Fort Wayne abortionist, Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, is losing his relationship with his legally-required Physician Designee, or “back-up” doctor. Dr. Geoffrey Cly, OB/GYN, notified Klopfer in a letter dated Dec. 12 that he is terminating his relationship as Physician Designee effective December 31, 2013 because of Klopfer’s handling of 13-year-old abortions.

The Allen County Patient Safety Ordinance (Title 10, Article 10) requires doctors practicing but not residing in the county to have a relationship with a local doctor who can legally practice in Allen County. Additionally, state law requires abortion doctors to have local admitting privileges or have entered into an agreement with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or contiguous county concerning the management of possible complications of the services provided. Cly, a pro-life physician who is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, became Klopfer’s Physician Designee in September 2010 because of his desire to protect the health and safety of any woman who may have a complication due to an abortion. As Klopfer’s Physician Designee, Cly would have cared for any of Klopfer’s patients with medical complications or situations arising after an abortion if Klopfer was not available. This is especially important because Klopfer resides in Crete, Ill., and leaves Fort Wayne immediately after he performs abortions.

In a letter dated Dec. 12, Cly wrote to Klopfer:

Many people have wondered why a Pro-Life OB/Gyn such as myself, would provide back up emergency coverage for patients who had terminations. And, as I stated in my initial correspondence to you, I was willing to serve as your Physician Designee because “patients’ well-being and safety is of utmost importance to me.” Patients well-being and safety remains my top priority. However, recent information has revealed to me that you have placed other things higher in priority than the health and safety of your patients.

A November 25 news article in the South Bend Tribune lists three abortions that you incorrectly reported per state statutes to both the Indiana State Department of Health and the Department of Child Services concerning girls under 14 years old obtaining abortions from you. According to a December 1 article in the same paper, you admitted to failing to correctly report two of those abortions. Furthermore, you told an online news publication, RH Reality Check, that you now advise girls under 14 and their parents or guardians that they can go to Illinois or Ohio to avoid the under 14 reporting requirement for child sexual abuse.

Your failure to report 13-year-old abortions properly and your subsequent admission to advising parents to avoid state laws is alarming. According to Indiana law, sex with a girl under 14 – regardless of the perpetrator’s age – is child abuse. Your advice to cross state lines for abortions may help child abuse to continue and a perpetrator or abuser to walk free. This advice blatantly disregards patients well-being and safety measures that are so important to me as a practicing OB/GYN and the medical field as a whole. I am saddened to think that these young girls may still be in a situation where they are in danger of being forced into further sexual abuse and emotional trauma.

These choices have demonstrated a disregard for the health and safety of patients. I firmly believe your decisions completely undermined over coverage agreement and therefore I am terminating my status as your Physician Designee in Allen County, Indiana, and as your state-required local physician with admitting privileges. These terminations will be effective December 31, 2013.

Upon learning of Cly’s termination as Physician Designee for Klopfer, Cathie Humbarger, Executive Director of Allen County Right to Life stated, “Through Dr. Cly’s termination of his back-up relationship with the doctor who provides abortions locally, we hope Dr. Klopfer will understand the severity of his mishandling of 13-year-old abortions. No 13-year-old should lose their innocence through child abuse and Dr. Klopfer’s actions, especially to coach parents to take their children to other states for abortions, demonstrate that he was willing to overlook child abuse. Dr. Cly’s willingness to be Dr. Klopfer’s back-up doctor originally shows just how much Dr. Cly values the health and safety of local women. He wanted to make sure women received the best medical care possible if they dealt with abortion complications. We wholeheartedly support Dr. Cly’s decision to terminate his back-up relationship with Dr. Klopfer in light of his recent egregious actions.”

“Dr. Cly’s termination of his Physician Designee status with Dr. Klopfer will mean the abortionist must find a new back-up doctor by the time he performs his first abortion in January, or he will be out of compliance with state and county laws,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “We are not aware whom Dr. Klopfer’s back-up doctors are in Gary and South Bend, the two other cities where he performs abortions. However, we urge these local doctors to reconsider their relationship with Dr. Klopfer because of his mishandling of abortions on girls under 14 and the advice he stated he gives to parents to take underage girls across state lines to avoid child sexual abuse reporting laws.”

View Cly’s letter in its entirety here.

Allen County Right to Life, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., operates out of a common concern for the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

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Mary’s Crisis Pregnancy

December 11, 2013

She was fourteen and pregnant. Her fiancé was not the father. Jewish law decreed that she could be stoned to death! Mary could have said, “No,” to God when His angel approached her, but she did not. Instead she trusted God to see her through whatever difficulties arose from carrying this Mary and child artchild.

When a woman today finds herself in a “crisis pregnancy” situation, often she looks only at the difficulties it can cause and not the blessing her child can be.

Just as God intervened with Joseph to protect Mary and the Child, He is ready to do the same for such a situation today. God has a special place in His heart for little ones. Remember when Jesus admonished His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”? (Matthew 19:14)  His attitude has not changed.

But we must be willing to trust Him. Being a mother is a God-given privilege—even when the circumstances seem all wrong. It is God who allowed your child to be conceived. Even though the timing appears wrong, God can turn the worst situation into a blessing. (Romans 8:28)

We can be sure that Mary prayed long and hard during her pregnancy—both for her and Joseph, but even more so for her baby. We, too, can pray for good health and wisdom in raising our children. Perhaps, a prayer for extra love for this surprise package God has allowed to happen to us is also needed.

When Mary found she was pregnant and that her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, was six months along in her “surprise” pregnancy, she rushed to her. I’m sure Elizabeth was also dealing with many questions even as she praised God for answering her prayers. Women in crisis pregnancies need to seek out fellowship from caring people and that is where Crisis Pregnancy Centers come in. They provide fellowship and support–physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We can all help with our prayers and by volunteering at a center.

God affirmed both Mary and Elizabeth as seen in their response—first to God and then as they came together at Elizabeth’s home. Affirmation is needed by all, whether during a crisis pregnancy or facing another difficulty. God desires to use Christians to provide that affirmation. May each one of us stand by any woman in such need.

Blog written by Linda Demorest, pro-life advocate in Northeast Indiana.

Petition Drive Launched to Urge Donnelly’s Support of Pain-Capable Unborn Children

December 10, 2013

Legislation Would Protect Unborn Children at 20 Weeks from Abortion

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Indiana Right to Life and the student-focused Friends for Life initiative launched a petition drive to collect signatures urging Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) to cosponsor the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the U.S. Senate and encourage Senate leadership to allow a vote on the legislation.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was introduced November 7 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). It currently boasts the support of 40 cosponsors, including Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act enacts nationwide protection for unborn children capable of feeling pain, beginning at 20 weeks fetal age. The House of Representatives passed companion legislation in June (228-196) with the support of all Indiana Republican representatives.

The petition urges Sen. Donnelly to cosponsor the bill and to urge Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the legislation up for a vote. The petition text reads, “Senator Donnelly: I encourage you to join Senator Dan Coats in cosponsoring S.1670, the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act. This important legislation will enact nationwide protections for unborn children beginning at 20 weeks. This bill is companion legislation for a bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year with the support of 228 Members of Congress, including all the Republican members of the Indiana delegation. Please show your support by adding your name as a cosponsor now and encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring this legislation to the Senate floor for a vote.”

The petition is available for Sen. Donnelly’s constituents to sign electronically at www.irtl.org/donnelly. Petition signers can also download a petition at that site.

Indiana Right to Life is sending all petitions collected by January 17, 2014 with the Friends for Life student group traveling to Washington, D.C. for the 40th annual March for Life. The Friends for Life bus will leave on January 20, 2014 with approximately 55 high school students and chaperones. While in D.C., the students will meet with a representative in Sen. Donnelly’s office to hand-deliver the petitions.

“The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is important legislation that would protect precious unborn life in our country,” stated Grace Lagemann, of Fort Wayne, Ind., high school junior and Petition Project Leader for Friends for Life. “Often abortions on pain-capable unborn children are done through dismemberment (‘D&E’) abortions where the baby’s arms and legs are removed one at a time, usually with a clamping tool. Medical science shows us babies in the womb feel pain, yet this barbaric procedure is allowed to continue. I urge my generation to join us in signing petitions to Sen. Donnelly to end this horrible practice through federal legislation.”

“We urge all Hoosiers to sign this important petition to Sen. Donnelly,” said Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Sen. Donnelly has touted himself as pro-life so we would like to see him step up to the plate for unborn pain capable children and cosponsor this legislation immediately.”

Friends for Life, an initiative of Allen County Right to Life, equips high school and college students through camps, trainings and events across the state with the tools to engage the culture of death by intelligently discussing the pro-life position in a positive and winsome manner.

Indiana Right to Life’s mission is to protect the right to life, especially of unborn children, through positive education, compassionate advocacy and promotion of healthy alternatives to abortion.

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