The sole abortion clinic in North Dakota will relocate from Fargo to Moorhead, Minnesota, as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and hand the decision back to state legislatures.
The Red River Women’s Clinic’s relocation will result in North Dakota being without an abortion facility for the first time in more than 40 years.
Although the draft judgment that was released in May gave clinic director Tammi Kromenaker advance notice of the decision, she nonetheless described it as “devastating”
“Unreal. Unbelievable,” Kromenaker said during a clinic interview. It is cruel. But it still comes as a shock to watch it become true.
Jane Bovard claimed she fought with politicians for years to continue conducting abortions and despite their attempts, the clinic was still able to provide services. Jane Bovard founded RRWC in 1998 after opening the state’s first abortion clinic in Fargo in 1981.
Bovard remarked from her Stillwater, Minnesota, home, “It’s just extremely terrible.” We are undoubtedly moving backward.
Following a review by the state attorney general, a 2007 “trigger” statute that was triggered by the court’s ruling is anticipated to outlaw abortion in North Dakota in 30 days. A similar statute exists in South Dakota. Minnesota doesn’t have a statute like that, thus the decision has no impact there.
Anti-abortion rallies frequently take place on the sidewalk in front of the clinic in downtown Fargo, but on Friday following the court decision, everything was silent.
Kromenaker claimed that although they had bought a property for a clinic in Moorhead, they are not yet prepared to reveal its exact location.
She stated, referring to the time before the ban goes into effect, “Our focus right now is on making sure our patients know abortion is still legal in North Dakota,” and added that the goal is to ensure there is little to no disruption in services.
Even if we can’t see patients for a week, Kromenaker said, “that’s still going to be probably a better case scenario than any option.”
By 4:30 p.m. on Friday, a GoFundMe page created on Thursday to raise money for improvements and furniture at the new Moorhead facility had reached its $250,000 target.
The financial assistance and emails from individuals volunteering to accompany patients to the clinic, according to Kromenaker, are astounding but not unexpected.
We are aware that the overwhelming majority of people support abortion rights, and those who are able to do so are doing so, she added.
She stated she would be saddened by the closure of the facility in North Dakota.
Red River Women’s Clinic and the services our community relies on are still available, she added, even if we may no longer be in North Dakota.
If the Red River Women’s Clinic does not offer abortion services across the border from North Dakota, Sarah Stoesz, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood North Central States, said her organization would think about doing so.
If RRWC develops a clinic in Moorhead, according to Stoesz, Planned Parenthood will be happy to have them. They will intervene and offer help if not, she added.
The Supreme Court’s ruling corrects a flaw in the legislation that precluded states from establishing “sanctuaries for life,” according to Christopher Dodson, executive director and general counsel for the North Dakota Catholic Conference.
Dodson stated that more understanding is required between the opposing sides in the abortion debate.
The pro-life movement must comprehend the challenging circumstances these women have faced, he added. “Similarly, the opposing side must comprehend that the majority of members in the community genuinely care about women and their rights. They only desire to safeguard that unborn kid.
Dodson stated that the state must, at the very least, boost financing for its abortion alternatives program and extend it to serve more women and children in the aftermath of the verdict.
Bovard said that the Red River Women’s Clinic’s name was strategically chosen more than 20 years ago.
She claimed there was a chance to cross the river and keep the name and identity if abortion became prohibited in North Dakota.
Dr. Robert Lucy in Jamestown and Dr. Richard Lee in Grand Forks both conducted abortions as a part of their OB-GYN medical practices prior to the establishment of any abortion facilities in the state, according to Bovard. Both passed away later.
In October 1981, Bovard opened the abortion clinic, which was initially known as the North Dakota Women’s Health Organization before changing its name to the Fargo Women’s Health Organization. She claimed that she did this because she wanted to provide women with more comprehensive abortion care that included counseling and support services.
At the clinic, which was set up in a two-story house off Main Avenue, she hired Kromenaker to be her assistant.
In the early 1990s, the clinic was the location of tense abortion protests as well as the target of break-ins and firebombings.
About a dozen pro-abortion demonstrators stormed into the clinic in March 1991, using Kryptonite bike locks to connect themselves at the neck.
Two months later, members of the Lambs of Christ flew to Fargo from all over the nation to disrupt clinic operations in a number of ways, including parking junk vehicles in the driveway and trapping their hands and feet inside the clinic.
In 1997, once the clinic was sold and the structure started to deteriorate, Bovard and Kromenaker made the decision to depart Fargo WHO.
In 1998, Bovard and abortion specialist George Miks established the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo, giving the city a temporary second location for abortions. Shortly after, Kromenaker became the new director.
In 2001, Fargo WHO shuttered, claiming financial difficulties, leaving the city with just one abortion facility once more.