MOORHEAD, Minnesota (TSWT) — The owner of a North Dakota abortion clinic shutting down this month arranged traffic and deliveries Friday at its planned new location a few miles away in Minnesota.
The Red River Women’s Clinic, which has operated on a busy street in downtown Fargo since 1998, will close that location on Aug. 26 unless a judge blocks a law in North Dakota that prohibits abortion. In the meantime, a move is already underway just over 2 miles away to a three-storey brick office building in the middle of a commercial area.
Clinic owner Tammi Kromenaker declined to talk about details of the Moorhead facility and later promised a statement during what she said was a busy day with scheduled deliveries. As she spoke, a moving van pulled up in the street and a garbage truck drove through a parking lot.
Some North Dakota abortion rights advocates still hope Kromenaker’s clinic will prevail in a lawsuit claiming abortion is protected by that state’s constitution. No hearing has yet been scheduled.
Although Kromenaker previously said she would only move if the lawsuit fails, the statement she made later Friday suggested she is fully committed to moving.
“Red River Women’s Clinic has found our new home,” she said. “We couldn’t be prouder to continue providing abortion care to our community and the region. This has not been an easy undertaking.”
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 care will remain available in our region.”
The clinic’s move has been spurred by $1 million in GoFundMe donations.
Kromenaker said she was looking for a new location to rent or buy for more than a year and that she ended up having to buy an office building that was larger than needed. She said it would be up to other tenants whether they stay. She said renting out space to compatible tenants would give the clinic “long-term financial stability.”
The building appeared largely empty on Friday.
Kromenaker has declined to say when the new clinic would be ready, but has said patients will not see any interruption in services.
Minnesota Republican State Representative Tim Miller, the director of an anti-abortion coalition that opposes the new clinic, told The The Switzerland Times that he plans to challenge the city on zoning and planning rules.
“I just find it hard to believe that an office building can suddenly become a clinic where they do abortions,” Miller said. “That just seems too simplistic to me.”
Destini Spaeth, the volunteer leader of the North Dakota Women In Need, which helps patients pay for travel expenses, said the Moorhead facility will be the clinic the community has built.
“Ultimately, I think people needed a place to put their action and their anger into something good,” Spaeth said. “And I know we all felt so helpless. And this felt like something tangible that we could see and enable.”