Judge Blocks Law That Could Have Made North Dakota Abortion Free

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 31, 2013   |   5:04PM   |   Bismarck, ND

The Red River Clinic, the sole public abortion business in North Dakota, reportedly performs an average of 1,200 abortions a year. Yet its fly-in abortionists have no admitting privileges with local hospitals, should a woman suffer complications from her abortion.

The North Dakota legislature approved a bill which would require all abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Because the abortion business can’t find a hospital to enter into an agreement with it, the abortion facility would have to close.

However, today, a state judge blocked the law from going into effect:

In a 1 p.m. hearing today, Cass County District Court Judge Wickham Corwin considered a request by the clinic’s attorneys to place a temporary injunction on enforcing the law until he rules on whether the law is constitutional.

According to a news release from the Center for Reproductive Rights, Corwin has temporarily blocked the law.

The Red River Women’s Clinic has three hospitals within a 30-mile radius, all in Fargo: Sanford Medical Center, Essential Health and the Veterans Affairs Health Care System. In court documents, the clinic says it has tried to comply with the law’s requirements, but it believes none of its physicians will be able to obtain admitting privileges at any of the three.

Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker has said that Sanford requires a doctor to admit a certain number of patients each year to gain privileges. At the VA Medical Center, patients must be veterans. Essential has a Catholic affiliation and does not grant privileges to abortion providers, Reuters has reported.

Any physician who fails to comply with the admitting privileges requirement could be prosecuted for a Class A misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.