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North Dakota's only abortion clinic raises over $700K for move across border into Minnesota

Work needed at the new clinic location in Moorhead includes replacement of an outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The new site will also need a security system with cameras and motion detectors.

Anti-abortion protestors hold signs toward pedestrians and passing traffic Wednesday, July 11, 2018, outside the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo. Erin Bormett / The Forum
Anti-abortion protesters hold signs July 11, 2018, outside the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo.
Erin Bormett / The Forum
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FARGO — The head of North Dakota’s only abortion clinic said she’s not ready to reveal the location of their new clinic across the river in Moorhead, in part, because of “serious security concerns.”

Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic currently in Fargo, told The Forum it’s possible the location will get out anyway before she’s prepared to make an announcement.

While continuing to operate the Fargo clinic for now, the staff is getting a look at renovations needed at the undisclosed Moorhead site. Having two mortgages and two sets of utilities, even for a short time, will be costly, Kromenaker said Monday, June 27.

The clinic will get a huge boost in that effort from a GoFundMe site, where donations have been pouring in since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday.

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An initial fundraising goal of $20,000 had to be continually adjusted upward and now stands at $1 million.

More than $710,000 had been raised as of 6 p.m. Monday from donors in the Midwest and afar, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii and New Jersey, and from other countries, including Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

“We took out loans to be able to make this happen," Kromenaker said of relocating the clinic. "I honestly didn't know how we were going to pull it off before this GoFundMe happened."

The largest donation thus far was $32,000 made by an anonymous donor.

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Another top donation of $5,000 came from Karen Stoker, ex-wife of Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Work needed at the new Moorhead location includes replacement of an outdated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and Kromenaker said they’ve already received bids for that work.

They will also need a security system with cameras and motion detectors, and want to put up a fence around the space, she said.

Some of the funds will go toward offering telehealth for medication abortion in Minnesota, something the clinic could not offer in North Dakota because telehealth delivery is specifically outlawed for abortion care in the state.

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Kromenaker said the GoFundMe site isn’t the only measure of help they’re receiving.

She’s fielding calls and emails from people offering to transport patients from other parts of the state, offering hotel rooms for patients who have to travel and offering to escort patients into the clinic.

“It’s such a relief and so heartening that we're getting this level of support,” Kromenaker said.

North Dakota has a “trigger” law, passed in 2007, that will eventually ban abortion in light of Friday's court ruling.

To start the 30-day countdown to the ban, Attorney General Drew Wrigley must certify that the Supreme Court has allowed states to ban abortion. Wrigley told Forum News Service columnist Rob Port on Monday to expect his decision within hours, not days — but that it would not be announced Monday.

Kromenaker said her focus at the moment is making sure patients know they can still receive an abortion at the clinic in downtown Fargo until the ban takes effect.

“We want to be careful and cautious about it with a mind to safety and security, but also so that there's no confusion for our patients,” Kromenaker said.

She said once the move happens, she expects Wednesdays will still be the day that abortions are provided, because the clinic doctor and other staff, including nurses, phlebotomists, patient advocates and others, are accustomed to that schedule.

Huebner is a 35+ year veteran of broadcast and print journalism in Fargo-Moorhead.
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