After days of silence, Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg finally addressed the discovery of thousands of baby remains in the home of a former South Bend abortion doctor.
Dr. Ulrich Klopfer was one of South Bend's leading abortionists before the state stripped his medical license indefinitely in 2016. The Indiana Medical Licensing Board found that Klopfer violated state law 9 times and failed to properly report abortions he performed on 2 girls under the age of 14.
Local authorities announced Friday that they had discovered more than 2,000 bodies of aborted babies in Klopfer's Illinois home following his death. Buttigieg has repeatedly supported a South Bend clinic linked to a former employee of Klopfer and remained silent on the shocking revelation for days.
When Buttigieg finally addressed the horrifying discovery Wednesday, he failed to mention Klopfer's history in South Bend, suggesting the issue should not "get caught up in politics."
"Like everyone, I find that news out of Illinois extremely disturbing, and I think it's important that [it] be fully investigated," Buttigieg said. "I also hope that it doesn't get caught up in politics at a time when women need access to health care."
Buttigieg supports abortion on demand, a position he has tied to his Christian faith. Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, criticized the South Bend mayor's response to the grisly discovery. The pro-abortion policies advanced by Buttigieg and his fellow 2020 presidential contenders have enabled people like Klopfer and convicted serial killer Kermit Gosnell to operate, according to Schilling.
"It's awfully convenient that Buttigieg doesn't want the Klopfer case to be politicized when he and his fellow 2020 Democrat candidates have spent their entire campaigns politicizing just about every other major news event in our country—mass shootings, sports, even the weather," he said. "The reality is that the radically pro-abortion laws being promoted by Democrats are directly responsible for creating an environment in which abortionists like Klopfer, Kermit Gosnell, and others are able to thrive. Buttigieg's craven attempt to deflect responsibility should be a giant red flag for voters."
Buttigieg continues to support a new South Bend abortion center despite the organization's history of health and safety violations. One South Bend physician said that the clinic, Whole Woman's Health, has "the same kind of profile as Dr. Klopfer." Whole Woman's Health, a chain of abortion clinics with locations across the country, committed dozens of health and safety violations in three Texas facilities between 2011 and 2017. Staff failed to properly disinfect and sterilize equipment and lacked a registered nurse on staff in some locations. Investigators also revealed that the company could not account for a missing stock of fentanyl, the narcotic linked to thousands of overdose deaths. The abortion provider's initial licensing application listed a former employee of Dr. Klopfer's, Liam Morley, as the clinic's administrator, though she has since left the organization.
While the Indiana State Department of Health denied Whole Woman's Health's license application due to a lack of "reputable and responsible character," Buttigieg continued to tout his support of the clinic.
"The South Bend clinic would be the only one for a radius of several counties," Buttigieg's national press secretary Chris Meagher told the Chicago Tribune in August. "It is a restriction on a woman's right if she is low-income, or doesn't have a vehicle, and she has to visit multiple times, but the clinic is dozens of miles away."
Indiana Republican representative Jackie Walorski and Vice President Mike Pence, who previously served as the state's governor, have both called for a federal investigation into Klopfer's practice in the wake of the discovery. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Klopfer conducted his business "for years under Buttigieg's watch." She said his rhetoric does not reflect his record.
"Pete Buttigieg’s long-awaited response to Ulrich Klopfer’s ‘House of Horrors' shows a moral failure and a radical commitment to abortion above health, safety, and basic human dignity," Dannenfelser said in an email. "Buttigieg’s extremism and refusal to take responsibility for his own back yard proves he is utterly unqualified to lead the nation."
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said that Klopfer's actions demonstrate the need for increased oversight of the abortion industry. Democrats have moved in the opposite direction in recent months as New York, Illinois, Vermont, and others have rolled back regulations to guarantee abortion up until birth. Mancini said such rules garner bipartisan support and are "intended to protect women and minor girls" from predatory doctors such as Klopfer and Gosnell.
"It is deeply disturbing that the abortion lobby and pro-choice politicians like Mayor Buttigieg are advocating for less regulation and oversight of abortion," she said. "Such policies are not in the best interest of women’s health and are wildly out of touch with the majority of Americans who would like to see greater restrictions placed on abortion and more oversight of centers like Klopfer’s."
Though Buttigieg has repeatedly supported Whole Woman's Health, he opposed a decision that would have allowed a pro-life pregnancy center to open next door to the abortion provider. The pregnancy center went on to open across the street, offering a number of free services to expectant mothers.
Updated 3:36 p.m.: This piece has been updated with a quote from March for Life.