In a race for bragging rights to be the first state in the nation to end abortion services, North Dakota's Governor Jack Dalrymple signed three extreme abortion restrictions this week, less than 24 hours after they landed on his desk. One of them is likely to close the state's only abortion provider, the Red River Women's Clinic. These are the bills:
- HB 1305: Banning abortions for reasons of sex-selection or genetic anomalies.
- HB 1456: Banning abortions from the point at which a heartbeat can be detected.
- SB 2305: Requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.
The first two are unlikely to have much effect beyond wasting North Dakota taxpayers' money on lawsuits defending them. Neither is likely to pass constitutional muster, though they contribute to the constant re-litigation of women's basic rights and grab headlines away from the restrictions that most effectively eliminate abortion access.
The last bill, SB 2305, though it sounds the most innocuous, is a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) bill, designed intentionally to close the state's last clinic. Though proposed as a patient safety measure, Red River is likely to fall short because they have an excellent safety record and local hospitals require doctors to meet a 10 patient per year referral minimum to gain admitting privileges.
“I’ve had one time that I’ve had to admit a patient in the last ten years,” Red River's director, Tammi Kromenaker explained. "I would never employ a doctor who had to admit ten patients a year. That would mean they were a terrible doctor.”
Again, the Red River Women's Clinic is likely to be shut down because it's too safe a medical facility to get hospital admitting privileges.