North Dakota’s One Abortion Clinic Gets Donations, Governor Gets Pat on the Back from Catholic Church


News is spreading that North Dakota’s Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, has signed a near total abortion ban and a law that could close down the only abortion clinic in the state, the Red River Women’s Clinic (RRWC). Across the country, pro-choice advocates are loudly championing the right to bodily autonomy for North Dakotans, while anti-choicers are cheering the massive overreach of a lawmaker intent on violating the constitution and eliminating the right to choose.

RRWC Director Tammi Kromenaker told the Associated Press that Fargo supporters have been stopping by the building ever since the announcement to offer their support. The governor “awoke a sleeping giant,” said Kromenaker. One of the three bills signed by the governor this week is likely to close RRWC by mandating that the doctors performing abortions there have local hospital admitting privileges, a requirement that will likely be impossible to obtain from either of the two nearby hospitals.

The clinic is getting more than emotional support. According to ABC News, “unsolicited donations [have] began pouring into the state’s lone abortion clinic”—money that will no doubt be necessary as these laws inevitably result in court battles.

Dalrymple’s support is coming from a much different community: the Catholic Church. Local Bishop David D. Kagan released a statement praising the new laws and the governor’s actions to affirm them. “The protection of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death is the primary purpose of government. All persons, including our elected officials, are obligated to unceasingly seek protection of this basic human right,” he said. Bishop Kagan became the center of a media storm prior to the 2012 elections for using his church standing and title to implore North Dakota Catholics to vote against Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the U.S. Senate race, throwing subtle support to Republican candidate Rick Berg, who once stated that women should be jailed for obtaining abortions. Heitkamp won the race.

The Diocese may be supporting Dalrymple spiritually, but the funds to litigate the unconstitutional laws must come from somewhere else. The governor has advised the state legislature that “before it adjourns [it] should appropriate dollars for a litigation fund available to the Attorney General” to cover necessary expenses.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9433650 Sarah ES

    Good, then the Catholic Church and the governor can start sending monthly checks to all those suddenly-mothers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ella.warnock.7 Ella Warnock

      The catholic church – all churches, really – need to be declared non tax exempt. The CC is sitting on obscene wealth, and it’s long past time for them to start paying their own way.

      • liberaldem

        It’s long past time that churches lose their tax exempt status. Most churches are nothing more than fronts for narrow-minded individuals whose greatest joy is sitting in judgment on other people.

        • HeilMary1

          And the RCC should be prosecuted for malpracticing medicine without licenses.

  • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

    I want the courts to rule on these TRAP laws, because it can’t possibly be legal or constitutional to make a law that specifically discriminates against one business, with the intent of shutting that business down. It can’t be constitutional to make laws and then make it impossible to comply with those laws. The sooner someone puts a stop to laws like these, the better off we’ll all be.

  • avidamerican

    Get religion out of our government. No wonder we are so deadlocked. This is a government we are working at, not a church. If one needs a religion fix, go to church. Run this government as a government, not a church. They just do not mix and it brings them both down.