Last Wednesday, East Central North Dakota Judge Wickham Corwin allowed a request from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of the Fargo abortion provider Red River Women’s Clinic, to combine two separate challenges to abortion laws under the same complaint. The move is just the latest in a series of questionable actions by Judge Corwin which call into question his judgment and motivations.
At best, Judge Corwin should recuse himself from these cases to avoid “the appearance of impropriety.”
Judge Corwin panders to the abortion clinic by allowing them to combine a challenge to a new requirement for abortion doctors with a challenge to a 2011 law limiting the use of abortifacients. Especially, since he had already said that he would rule in favor of the abortion clinic on its challenge to the 2011 law. Revealing his desire to legislate from the bench, Crowin called the legislation “simply wrongheaded.” Not unconstitutional or unlawful which are the terms judges interested in the rule of law normally speak in, but wrongheaded.
How can the people of North Dakota feel that their concerns are being heard by an impartial jurist when the judge has already said the way he will rule?
The two cases should have never been combined in the first place. The original case is about abortion drugs; the new challenge is about safety of those receiving surgical abortions. Two totally different issues, and clearly laws that were put in place by our Legislature to protect women’s health.
This is not the first time Judge Corwin has shown poor judgment. An ongoing sexual harassment investigation against him by a court reporter resulted in his resignation to a team that doesn’t include the woman, according to reports. The Bakken Today had more:
Corwin told investigators that while he hoped to have an affair with the woman, who he kissed at his home after a bicycle ride together two years ago, he didn’t intend to start it right away, and she misunderstood his intentions, the report says.
A hearing on the case is expected today.
Earlier this month, Judge Corwin took the unusual step of departing from the mandatory sentence guideline of 20 years to life in prison to sentence a child rapist convicted of raping a 13-year old girl to just 5 years. Judge Corwin showed much concern for the 20-year old charged in this case, but what about that young girl?
And what about the young girls suffering at the hands of abortionists with substandard qualifications? It is evident Judge Corwin has little concern. Given his resume, how can the women of North Dakota feel confident they are getting a fair hearing on these cases?
He should recuse himself from these cases immediately and let someone else handle these important cases for the sake of justice and fairness.
But the matter should not end there. Judge Corwin is up for re-election in 2014 and voters should make sure they know the facts before voting for him again! We expect a higher level of ethical behavior, judicial impartiality and wisdom from those who get to sit in the seat of a judge, and Corwin is starting to look unworthy of that seat.
The two separate laws being challenged by the abortion providers in Fargo are both laws that were passed with bi-partisan support in the Legislature, one in 2011 and one this last session. Both are aimed at protecting women’s health. Let’s take a look at each of them:
HB 1297, passed in 2011 (and the first case to be litigated), intends to protect women’s health by restricting the use of abortion-inducing drugs to the protocol that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally received for the approval of the drug. The law does NOT ban the use of abortion-inducing medications, but merely limits its use to the regimen that the FDA considered safe. That regimen is:
• Day One: Mifeprex Administration: Three 200 mg tablets of Mifeprex are taken in a single oral dose
• Day Three: Misoprostol Administration: Two 200 mcg tablets of misoprostol are taken orally before a physician
• Day 14: Post-Treatment Examination: The patient must return to confirm that a complete termination has occurred. If not, surgical termination is recommended to manage medical abortion treatment failures.
The law also requires that the clinic have a contract with another physician in the case of an emergency and that the patient be given that information.
The law that passed in 2013, SB2005, is a hospital admittance requirement, to ensure continuous medical care and follow up for women who have undergone a surgical abortion. There is currently no mechanism to ensure continuous care, and this law was passed in order to guarantee women receive the full health care they deserve. The abortion facility says it is “rare” that there are complications and that “the safety and quality of care provided at the Red River Women’s Clinic” makes the law an unnecessary burden on their clinic and their physicians. Their lawyer called it “medically unwarranted admitting privileges”.
Really? Medically unwarranted? Or is it rather the fact that it would cut into their profits? Where is the concern and care for their patients here? And why on earth would the Red River Women’s abortion facility not want to follow FDA recommendations for medically induced abortions?
The lack of concern for women’s safety is the theme running through the efforts we are seeing from Judge Corwin and from abortionists. It is simply appalling! And the women of North Dakota should not stand for it.