North Dakota Abortion Facility Puts Women at Risk Without Insurance

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 5, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

North Dakota Abortion Facility Puts Women at Risk Without Insurance

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 5, 2004

Fargo, ND ( — The sole abortion business in North Dakota is being accused of putting women at risk because it doesn’t have medical malpractice insurance. If a woman is injured or killed because of a botched abortion, the abortion facility would likely not be able to pay damages in a lawsuit.

The Fargo-based Red River Women’s Clinic abortion business says has medical malpractice insurance form a Bermuda insurance agency. But the agency has been disciplined in several states and may no longer exist.

Jim Poolman, North Dakota’s insurance commissioner, told the Associated Press that the abortion facility has refused to provide any information about its medical malpractice insurance.

Poolman said he plans to subpoena the information to see if the abortion facility is in compliance with state law.

According to AP, Jane Bovard, director of the abortion facility, emailed Laurie Wolf, the Insurance Department’s enforcement director, and told her that her attorney advised her not to comply with the insurance information request.

Poolman, who cannot close down the abortion facility, said the lack of medical malpractice insurance to cover cases when abortions go awry is concerning.

But, in an email to Wolf before the announcement of the subpoena, Bovard said she and other abortion facilities were covered by the Bermuda company.

That company, the Bermuda-based Professional Liability Insurance Co. Ltd (PLIC), was told to quit doing business in the state of Washington because it is considered an insurance scam selling false insurance policies.

Poolman wants to forbid the company from insuring clients in North Dakota.

Other states, including Florida, Alabama, Illinois Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas have prohibited PLIC form operating there, according to AP.

Bovard, who is president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, a trade group of abortion businesses, says many abortion facilities use PLIC for medical malpractice insurance.

If so, then other women in other states are at risk too, pro-life advocates say.

Pro-life advocates in North Dakota are worried how women are affected by the situation.

"In light of this situation, we need to ask: What does the Red River Women’s Clinic have to hide from Insurance Commissioner Poolman," Stacey Pfliiger, director of North Dakota Right to Life, told

"Why has the malpractice insurance been bought from a company outside of the United States?"