I must have walked twenty laps around our home office. Through my office, into the kitchen, down into the family room, turn around and circle back through the front hallway and then through Amber’s office, returning to my desk once more. I had that feeling of extreme dread, like when you know you have to break up with someone (or that they’re about to break up with you), coupled with that feeling of severe danger. Every time I would circle past my desk, I would stare at my phone, and it would stare at me right back at me.
There was no doubt about it. I knew I had to talk to this man. I just didn’t want to.
Before I had taken my 3 year sabbatical from film production, Amber and I had gone down one morning to stand with the protesters and sidewalk counselors outside the abortion clinic on Inwood Drive on a procedure day. Standing there with our then-newborn oldest daughter, Elizabeth, watching women pull into the parking lot and walk into that clinic to pay Abortionist George Klopfer to dismember and murder their baby, I was struck by the surreal setting of a modern-day Auschwitz on one side of the street and a gospel-preaching Baptist church on the other. The width of a city street was literally the only thing separating the living from the dead, and the condemned. During WW2, the condemned were brought in by trains and unloaded into the gas execution chambers at gunpoint. This day, the condemned were brought in by car, safely inside their mother’s wombs, and protected by law for the sole purpose of their execution.
“This is a movie,” I remember thinking to myself that very day, “and it would be called ‘Inwood Drive’. It’s Good versus Evil, separated only by the width of a city street.” And with that trip back in the spring of 2010, the script was written. It would be another 8 years, however, before that story, filed away in my mental file cabinet, would be revived and put into production as Amber and I were preparing ourselves for the imminent arrival of our third daughter, Katelyn. I don’t doubt that “babies on the brain” contributed to our decision to put “Inwood Drive” into development in July of 2018, but for certain we did it because we knew the Lord was directing us to do it. Of all of the film projects I’ve ever done in 30+ years of a career in filmmaking, I’ve never been more sure of any film in my life.
Now, this day, I found myself staring once again at the phone, contemplating placing the phone call to George Klopfer, the infamous abortionist himself, to offer him the opportunity to be interviewed for a feature film all about him - and his eventual downfall. Trying to put aside my feelings towards a man I had never met, but knowing full well what he had made a career of for over as long as I had been alive, I closed my eyes and asked the Lord for strength.
“Help me to do this, Lord. I know you didn’t bring me this far for me to sit on my hands.”
I opened my eyes and reached for my phone. I never imagined that I would have the personal cell phone number of an abortionist stored away in my contacts list on my iPhone, but there it was. As I pressed the “dial” button, my heart started to pound.
The phone rang. “Don’t answer…don’t answer…don’t answer…please don’t answer…” The phone rang some more, then went to voicemail. My pulse dropped a few notches. I figured if I left a quick voicemail there was no way he would ever call me back, but at least I could say that I tried and I was off the hook for good.
The automated voicemail message beeped. I took a deep breath. “Hello, Dr. Klopfer. My name is Mark Archer. I’m a film producer, and I’m working on a documentary feature film about your abortion clinic in Fort Wayne and how you were eventually shut down. Since a lot of the film is about you and your practice as an abortionist, specifically, I thought I would reach out to you and see if you would be willing to talk with me. You can reach me back on my cell….”
…and…hit that big red button on the iPhone to HANG UP.
A pause of silence. My heart was still racing.
“Phew! K…Done. Glad I got that over wi…”…as the phone lit up and began to ring.
My heart dropped as I looked at the caller ID: “George Klopfer”
“Now I have to talk to him.” I threw a few punches in the air in frustration, then picked up the phone. Fine. Whatever. Let’s get this over with.
I let it ring one more time, then swiped right to answer.
“Hello, this is Mark Archer.”
A pleasant voice came from the other end of the line.
“Yeah, hi? This is George Klopfer. You just called me?”
I swallowed hard as I took a deep breath, then launched into “Mr. Producer” mode.
“Yeah, Dr. Klopfer, how are you? My name is Mark Archer. I’m a film producer. I’m working on a feature documentary film about you and your abortion business, and your battle in Fort Wayne and across the state of Indiana. I wondered if I might ask you some questions?”
To my total shock, George was one of the more pleasant people I had talked to in such a setting, especially considering the fact that I was telling him flat-out that I was making a movie about his demise as an abortionist. I never expected him to call me back, let alone have a pleasant conversation with me about it.
After a few minutes of conversation, I asked him if we could sit down with him and talk in more detail, because I was really interested in getting his side of the story, and letting him speak on his own behalf. He agreed, and we set a time for just a few days away to go to his now-defunct clinic in Fort Wayne to have a sit-down conversation with him.
“Okay, we’ll see you on Thursday morning at 9am, then. At your clinic on Inwood.”
“Yeah, okay. That sounds fine. Just knock on the door when you get there. I’m happy to talk with you.”
I hung up the phone again, but this time I stood in silence for a moment.
Alrightythen. I guess this project just got real.
When Amber came home a few hours later I broke the news to her. We both looked at each other for a moment, processed the fact that we were really doing this, and we were really going to go into the den of darkness and talk to the abortionist himself.
Amber got excited. “You know what? That man needs Jesus. I can’t wait to talk to him. Like it or not, he’s going to hear the gospel before we leave!” And hear the gospel he would, after the two of us faced him down squarely for over an hour.
My goal going in to talk to George was simple. What’s done is done. I can’t change the fact that this man has taken the lives of literally tens of thousands of babies. It’s a documented fact, whether I like it or not. As a filmmaker, it is my job to tell the truth and to be objective about doing so. Of course I have my opinion about what he’s done - that’s the whole reason I felt compelled to tell the story. But, I still must answer to the Lord for my being truthful in everything I put on screen. Being truthful means confirming your sources, and the best way to confirm a source about someone is to talk to that someone. I was determined to give George that chance, whether I felt like he deserved to be heard or not.
“I’m not going in to see if he can convince me of anything,” I would tell the few individuals that we shared the news with before we met with George, “I’m going in to let him speak for himself. I may not like him or what he’s done, but I’m not going to fabricate stories about him based on conjecture and hearsay. If I do that, I’m no better than Michael Moore or 95% of the media. Whatever my mind can imagine about his reasons for doing what he’s done, I imagine it’s ten times worse.”
And what a prophetic statement that would be. We never could have imagined, however, just how much sadness we would feel for a man like George Klopfer. We never could have imagined just how much our hearts would hurt for how lost and deceived he was, and how in need of Christ’s forgiveness he truly was.
As we prepared ourselves mentally and spiritually for our conversation in just a few days’ time, we both could feel the darkness closing in all around us as we prayed fervently for the light of Christ to go before us. We were about to experience the very heart of darkness.
To Be Continued…