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Federal court: Critical aspects of patient safety law in Allen County, Ind. can go into effect

Abortionist represented by ACLU challenged Patient Safety Ordinance, ADF represents county

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys representing Allen County say that a court order denying most of an abortion provider’s motion to stop critical aspects of a new Patient Safety Ordinance means those provisions can go into effect and that the door is open for other Indiana counties to enact similar legislation.

An abortionist 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 the Fort Wayne area and the rest of the county.

“A patient’s health is more important than an abortionist’s bottom line,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “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 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. Doctor Ulrich Klopfer argues that the ordinance will prevent him from performing abortions because he can’t find a doctor in the Fort Wayne area who is willing to associate with him for the purpose of being his designated physician.

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.

The county voted to retain ADF as legal counsel for the lawsuit, Fort Wayne Women’s Health v. Board of Commissioners, at a meeting on June 11.  The suit was originally filed in Allen County Superior Court but was later transferred to federal court because of federal constitutional claims raised in the case. 

  • Pronunciation guide: Klopfer (Klope-fur)


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. ADF President Alan Sears is co-author with Craig Osten of the book The ACLU vs. America.