FARGO, ND (AP) — A judge’s decision that will delay the closure of North Dakota’s only abortion clinic should allow more time than necessary to move the business to a nearby Minnesota town, said Thursday the owner and operator of the establishment.
In fact, Red River Women’s Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker said she’s open to opening a boutique in Moorhead, Minnesota next week if North Dakota’s abortion ban is lifted. entered into force on Thursday. She said that now, however, she would have more time to make sure Fargo’s move went smoothly.
“At this time, we will continue to see patients in North Dakota for a few more weeks as we continue to acquire furniture and supplies for the new space in Minnesota,” Kromenaker said.
Using a technicality of the law, Burleigh County Judge Bruce Romanick essentially gave the clinic a reprieve of at least 30 days when he ruled that Attorney General Drew Wrigley was too hasty in scheduling the Fargo Clinic closing on Thursday. Wrigley certified closing after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month when he should have waited for the court’s formal judgment, which is usually issued within 25 days of a decision, said Romanick.
Wrigley filed another certification letter on Wednesday with the North Dakota Legislative Council that would put the trigger ban into effect on August 26. As the clinic continues its lawsuit arguing that the North Dakota Constitution guarantees the right to abortion, Kromenaker said it will continue the transition to Moorhead without disruption of services.
“We schedule patients as usual, which is usually a week,” she said.
A GoFundMe page to raise funds for Fargo’s transition to Moorhead had topped $975,000 on Thursday. In addition to the donations, the volunteer leader of North Dakota Women In Need, which helps patients with travel costs, said she was motivated by the many words of encouragement left by contributors, many of whom come from States also engaged in struggles against abortion.
“We get messages like solidarity from Vancouver or sending you love from New Jersey,” said fund manager Destini Spaeth.
Separately on Thursday, attorneys from 15 cities and counties, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and others, wrote to the US Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Transportation urging them to ban federal cooperation with the state abortion bans, including any attempts to criminalize abortion or travel to receive abortion services.
In North Carolina, Republican leaders in the State House and Senate on Wednesday asked a federal judge to overturn his 2019 ruling that blocked enforcement of the state’s 20-week abortion ban in North Carolina. light of Roe’s reversal by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, as the North Dakota clinic prepares to reopen in Minnesota, McKenzie McCoy, executive director of North Dakota Right To Life, said her group has a “strong network connection across the borders of the State” and will make its presence known to Moorhead as well as Billings. , Montana, which is the closest abortion clinic for women in western North Dakota.
“This is another opportunity to grow what I call the tree of life in North Dakota,” McCoy said. “We can expand these branches and create stronger relationships with other states.”
The clinic’s chances of prevailing on the trial’s biggest constitutional issue are unclear, and the case will almost certainly go to the state Supreme Court regardless of the judge’s decision.
Steven Morrison, a law professor at the University of North Dakota, said the state High Court has always supported abortion restrictions and its policy focus has not changed.
“I don’t think the Supreme Court of North Dakota has ever ruled in favor of abortion or related rights,” he said. “I would be shocked and amazed if the court found that the North Dakota Constitution implied the right to abortion.”
Amy Jacobson, executive director of Prairie Action ND, which champions “progressive values, messages and actions,” said the injunction shows North Dakota state officials must follow the law and “cannot not just do what they want”, but winning does not change the end result.
“Abortion will be banned in North Dakota in the coming weeks and I think that’s really the most upsetting thing,” she said. “No judge, no politician should really be allowed to override personal medical decisions and that’s what’s happening in North Dakota.”
Associated Press writer James MacPherson in Bismarck, North Dakota, contributed to this report.
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