CHICAGO (CBS) — Assetou has never talked about her abortions before. That changed when she learned the man who performed her abortions, Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, died and more than 2,200 fetal remains were found in his garage in Will County last week.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I did this awful thing and my children are possibly held in a box somewhere in a house,’” Assetou said. “I cried.”
CBS 2 is not using Assetou’s last name due to the sensitivity of the subject.
The 32-year-old said the discovery has brought back a flood of emotions about the first time she went to see Klopfer at his now-closed Gary, Indiana clinic, when she was 18. She was carrying twins and still has the ultrasound pictures. Klopfer’s name is imprinted on them.
“I just said to myself, ‘I can’t bring my kids into this situation. I can’t bring my kids into poverty. I can’t bring my kids to a father who won’t love them or want them,’” Assetou said.
Assetou remembers sitting in a room with other women. She remembers Klopfer talking to them before the procedure.
“He said, ‘If you don’t do this, it will cost you … Yearly $240,000 to take care of a kid. So would you rather deal with that or would you rather go home and just go back to your regular life?’” Assetou said. “There was no emotion. There was no empathy.”
She said when she went back for her second abortion eight years later, not much had changed — except this procedure left her bleeding and scarred.
“The one thing I can remember was he was extremely rough,” Assetou said. “His tone of voice, how direct, callous it was. Even the procedure … It was rough.”
Klopfer lost his license a few years later. His three Indiana clinics are now closed. Authorities have said the medically preserved remains in his garage are almost 20 years old, so none of the remains are likely Assetou’s babies. This gives her little comfort. She still believes in the right to choose, but hopes talking about her experiences and her decisions may be of help to someone else.
“Every circumstance is different,” Assetou said. “I don’t know what brought them to that level but what I will say is if you choose to do that just know it will live with you forever.”
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office will be handling the case of the fetal remains going forward.