North Dakota Clinic Accelerates Cross-River Move to Minnesota

North Dakota Abortion (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

North Dakota Abortion (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The owner of an abortion clinic in North Dakota, which is due to close this month, was directing traffic and deliveries on Friday at his planned new location just a few miles away in Minnesota.

The Red River Women’s Clinic, which has been on a busy downtown Fargo street since 1998, will close Aug. 26 unless a judge blocks a North Dakota law that prohibits abortion. Meanwhile, a move is already underway just over two miles away to a three-story brick office building in the middle of a commercial area.

Clinic owner Tammi Kromenaker declined to talk about details of the Moorhead facility, promising a statement later during what she said was a busy day of scheduled deliveries. As she spoke, a moving truck pulled up on the street and a garbage removal truck passed a parking lot.

Some abortion rights advocates in North Dakota still hope that Kromenaker’s clinic can prevail in a lawsuit alleging that abortion is protected by that state’s constitution. There is no scheduled hearing yet.

While Kromenaker previously said she would only move if litigation fails, the statement she gave on Friday suggested she is fully committed to relocation.

“The Red River Women’s Clinic has found our new home,” she said. “We couldn’t be more proud to be able to continue to provide abortion care to our community and region. It was not an easy task.”

She added: “As the lights go out on legal abortion in North Dakota, we want to assure everyone that the Red River Women’s Clinic is here to stay. Abortion assistance will continue to be available in our region.”

The clinic’s relocation was driven by $1 million in donations from GoFundMe.

Kromenaker said he had been looking for a new location to rent or buy for more than a year and ended up having to buy an office building that was larger than necessary. She said it would be up to other tenants if they stayed. She said renting space to compatible tenants would give the clinic “long-term financial stability.”

The building looked almost empty on Friday.

Kromenaker declined to say when the new clinic will be ready, but said patients will see no disruption to services.

Minnesota Republican State Representative Tim Miller, director of an anti-abortion coalition that opposes the new clinic, told the Associated Press that he plans to challenge the city on its zoning and planning rules.

“I find it hard to believe that an office building could suddenly become a clinic where they’re getting abortions,” Miller said. “That seems too simplistic to me.”

Destini Spaeth, a volunteer leader for North Dakota Women In Need, which helps patients pay for travel expenses, said the Moorhead facility will be the clinic the community built.

“In the end, I think people needed a place to put their action and their anger into something good,” Spaeth said. “And I know we all feel so helpless. And that felt like something tangible that we could see and make possible.”

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