MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — The owner of a North Dakota abortion clinic facing closure this month was directing traffic and deliveries Friday at his planned new location a few miles from distance in Minnesota.
the red River Womens Clinic, which has been operating on a busy downtown Fargo street since 1998, will close that location on Aug. 26 unless a judge blocks a North Dakota trigger law that bans abortion. Meanwhile, a the move is already underway just over 2 miles (3 kilometers) away from a three-story brick office building in the middle of a commercial area.
The clinic’s owner, Tammi Kromenaker, declined to discuss details of the Moorhead facility, promising to make a statement later during what she said was a busy day of scheduled deliveries. As she was speaking, a moving truck pulled up the street and a junk truck pulled through a parking lot.
Some North Dakota abortion-rights advocates still hope the Kromenaker clinic can prevail in a lawsuit alleging that abortion is protected by that state’s constitution. No hearing scheduled yet.
Although Kromenaker previously said she would move only if litigation fails, her statement later Friday suggested she is fully committed to the relocation.
“Red River Women’s Clinic has found our new home,” she said. “We couldn’t be more proud to be able to continue providing abortion services to our community and region. This has not been an easy task.”
She added, “As the lights go out on legal abortion in North Dakota, we want to assure everyone that Red River Women’s Clinic is here to stay. Abortion care will continue to be available in our region.”
The relocation of the clinic has been powered by $1 million in GoFundMe donations.
Kromenaker said he searched for a new location to rent or buy for more than a year and finally had to buy a larger-than-necessary office building. She said that she would depend on other tenants if they stayed. She said renting space to compatible tenants would give the clinic “long-term financial stability.”
The building appeared mostly empty on Friday.
Kromenaker has declined to say when the new clinic would be ready, but has said patients will see no interruption in services.
Minnesota Republican state Rep. Tim Miller, head of an anti-abortion coalition that opposes the new clinic, told The Associated Press that he plans to challenge the city on its zoning and planning rules.
“I just find it hard to believe that an office building could suddenly become a clinic where they’re doing abortions,” Miller said. “That seems too simplistic to me.”
Destini Spaeth, a volunteer leader for North Dakota Women In Need, which helps patients pay for travel costs, said the Moorhead facility will be the clinic the community built.
“In the end, I think people needed a place to put their action and their anger into something good,” Spaeth said. “And I know we all feel so powerless. And this felt like something tangible that we could see and make possible.”
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