Red River Women’s Clinic in North Dakota Reports Lowest Abortion Numbers in Ten Years

The lone reproductive health-care clinic that provides abortion services in North Dakota will finish the year having provided the lowest number of abortions in the last decade. The Associated Press reports that the Red River Women’s Clinic expects to have performed a total of 1,125 abortions in 2013, which represents about a 15 percent decline from the 1,330 abortions that were performed at the clinic in 2012.

When the Red River Women’s Clinic opened in 1998, it was the second clinic to provide abortions in the state. In 2001, it became the state’s sole abortion provider.

Anti-choice lawmakers and activists claim the drop in the number of abortions is due to more women becoming educated about abortion and choosing to carry pregnancies to term. State Rep. Bette Grande told the AP, “Women are changing their hearts and minds.” But, reproductive rights advocates believe that harsh restrictions on access to abortion and reproductive health care have led to the decline.

Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, told the AP that the abortion restrictions passed by the North Dakota legislature have led some women to believe that abortion is no longer legal in the state. “We’re definitely hearing from women that they thought we were closed and that abortion is illegal. Abortion is still legal in the state of North Dakota and we’re still here,” said Kromenaker.

Earlier this year, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law HB 1456, which banned abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks’ gestation. According to the governor, the legislation was designed specifically as an “attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade.” The law was blocked from taking effect by a federal judge in July, while the legal challenge to its constitutionality is ongoing.

Additionally, Dalrymple also signed HB 1305, which would ban so-called sex-selective abortions, and SB 2305, which requires doctors providing abortion services to receive admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. In September, the Red River Women’s Clinic requested that the lawsuit against HB 1305 be dropped due to the fact that the clinic did not feel it would have any direct impact. Like HB 1456, HB 1305 was also blocked by a federal court while the law’s constitutionality is challenged.

In addition to the bills signed this year, there are several other anti-choice laws that have been passed restricting women’s access to reproductive health care in the state. “I don’t think women’s circumstances and the reason they come to us have changed,” Kromenaker told the AP.

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  • fiona64

    The reason that there are fewer abortions has nothing to do with “choosing to carry pregnancies to term.” It has everything to do with shutting down access.

    • expect_resistance

      And we know it has everything to do with access. It has nothing to do with, ”Women are changing their hearts and minds.” It has more to do with women having very little access or none at all. And the perception that they believe abortion is illegal in ND. Of course the antis would never admit that.

      It would be interesting if they looked to see if there is an uptick in women traveling to neighboring states like Minnesota to get an abortion. Could they travel to Canada? I would help anyone in Eastern North Dakota to go to MN to get an abortion.

  • Terry Evdokimoff

    I would like to give a few old men transvaginal ultrasound wands for Xmas. I will even show them how it works. Oh wait, they don’t have uteri. I’ll guess I’ll have to go in the other way.