By Dave Andrusko
Back in December, NRL News Today wrote about the likelihood that North Dakota’s 2013 abortion total would be dramatically down from 2012 (“North Dakota: a state that had fewer abortions in 2013 and vigorously defends its pro-life laws against pro-abortion attacks”).
A story that appeared today in Forum News Service confirms that oh-so-welcomed news. The Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo—the state’s only abortion provider—performed 1,185 abortions in 2013, according to executive director Tammi Kromenaker, the lowest number in more than a decade and down 11% from 2012.
Kromenaker attributed the decline (as she had last month) to a number of “abortion restrictions” (pro-life laws) which contributed, she speculated, to giving “some would-be clients the impression that abortion is now illegal in North Dakota.”
She also grudging conceded (according to reporter Kyle Potter) that “though the drop is good news on its face, “ she also “fears that the number of women seeking abortions hasn’t changed — they’ve simply gone elsewhere.” According to the Associated Press, the abortion clinic “is served by out-of-state physicians licensed to practice in North Dakota.”
Rep. Bette Grande, the author of two of the pro-life measures, attributed the drop to the educational impact of pro-life bills. “The more the public knows, the more their hearts and minds are being changed,” she told Potter. Previously Rep. Grande said, “They are saying, ‘This has affected my thinking.’ More women have thought through the process and said, ‘This is not what I want to do.’ ” That, she said, “ is why the numbers changed.”
From 2009 through 2011, The Red River Women’s Clinic performed 1,250 to 1,300 abortions each year.
As NRL News Today reported previously, the state’s new Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection became law April 16, 2013 when the Center for Reproductive Rights did not dispute that law in court. The law says babies cannot be aborted from the point that compelling medical evidence demonstrates the child can feel pain—20 weeks.
In April Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, National Right to Life’s Director of State Legislation and architect of the model law, told NRL News Today, “It is hugely significant and shouldn’t be overlooked that a fifth of the states now have the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on their books.” (See “North Dakota’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act takes effect, pro-abortionists choose not to challenge law in court,”)
North Dakota joined Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Arkansas in enacting laws that say that babies cannot be aborted from the point that compelling medical evidence demonstrates the child can feel pain—20 weeks.
Other pro-life North Dakota laws are working their way through the legal system.