It was supposed to be another quiet Friday at the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the only abortion provider in North Dakota. The clinic’s staff uses the end of the work week for administrative tasks, calling patients and scheduling appointments for the coming days.
Then, this morning, the ruling came down: “Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade” was plastered across computer screens. Staff members hugged. Others covered their agape mouths with their hands. Some wiped away tears. Then it was back to work — there was no other choice. “Right after Roe v. Wade was overturned, I got a call from a woman wanting an abortion. She just moved to the area and has a small infant,” Tammi Kromenaker, the clinic’s director and owner, said. “I got the most debilitating news ever and then a patient called. This is why we do it.”
Abortion will be illegal in the state as soon as the attorney general certifies to the legislative council the Dobbs ruling, setting into motion the state’s trigger law, which prohibits all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the pregnant patient. Red River Women’s Clinic has plans to move across state lines to Minnesota, but until North Dakota kicks them out, the clinic’s doors will stay open.
Megan Messerly contributed to this report. Photo editing by Katie Ellsworth.