Both U.S. senators from Indiana asked the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday to investigate after more than 2,200 fetal remains were found in a dead doctor's Illinois home.
Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun, both Republicans, wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr that Dr. Ulrich Klopfer's "blatant disregard of human life" raises questions about the 2,246 fetal remains found in his home earlier in September.
"In light of this horrific discovery, we urge you to do everything in your power to support the Indiana and Illinois attorneys general in their investigations, and to keep us informed of any developments," Young and Braun wrote to Barr.
The senators also asked the DOJ to review state laws regarding the disposal of fetal remains. A review would "aid Congress in examining potential legislative remedies to ensure fetal remains are always treated with dignity," the senators wrote.
"Not all state laws value life like that of the state of Indiana," they wrote.
What we know: 2,246 fetal remains found in Illinois home of ex-Indiana abortion doctor
A lawyer for Klopfer's family notified Will County, Illinois, authorities on Sept. 12 that they had discovered fetal remains in the former Indiana abortion doctor's Crete, Illinois, home. The remains all came from abortions performed at Klopfer's clinics in South Bend, Gary and Fort Wayne between 2000 and 2002, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said.
Hill now leads the investigation into the finding, and said his office will take custody of the medically preserved fetuses found in Klopfer's garage. Klopfer died of natural causes on Sept. 3.
With Klopfer dead, Hill said the investigation now focuses on finding out if others were involved in the handling of the remains, as well as maintaining the confidentiality of thousands of medical records found in Klopfer's former clinics in Gary, South Bend and Fort Wayne.
Klopfer's Indiana medical license was suspended indefinitely in 2016. Records show the licensing board found Klopfer failed to properly file paperwork regarding abortions, including some records that were dated the same day as the procedure, which violated Indiana's 18-hour waiting period.
The licensing board also found he performed abortions on two 13-year-olds without filing paperwork within three days as required by law.
In its 2016 suspension order, the licensing board said Klopfer admitted that earlier in his career, he performed an abortion on a 10-year-old who had been raped. Klopfer, the board said, did not report the rape to law enforcement. It was unclear when or where the abortion occurred.
No additional remains were found when authorities searched Klopfer's former clinics in South Bend and Fort Wayne, Hill said. Illinois law enforcement conducted a search of Klopfer's property over several days and found no clues as to why Klopfer kept these fetal remains, officials said.
"It's tough for us to even speculate what his motivation was," Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said.
Hill has urged those who believe they may have a connection to either the remains or the medical records found in Klopfer's home to call 317-234-6663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report their concerns.