North Dakota Abortion Lawsuit To Settle After Sanford Health Bails Out Clinic


A lawsuit over a North Dakota abortion law passed by the legislature last year last year requiring credentialing for abortion clinic doctors was supposed to go to trial before Judge Wickham Corwin in Fargo today. But it didn’t go to trial, and attorneys for the pro-abortion side are saying a settlement has been reached.

So what’s in the settlement? There’s nothing official yet, but a source in-the-know who spoke with me on condition of anonymity said the Center for Reproductive Rights, which was litigating the case on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, lost standing once Sanford Health offered credentialing to the abortionists working at the clinic.

In other words, because the Red River Women’s Clinic came into compliance with the law and will continue to offer abortions under it, they no longer have standing in their original lawsuit.

A verbal settlement is in place, and what both sides are waiting on now is the paperwork. I’m told that the abortion clinic wants to be able to challenge the law again on the basis of its constitutionality. So, this likely isn’t over, but the pro-life people who I spoke to are taking this as a victory. And after much aspersion has been cast at these pro-life bills by detractors who say they’re so much tilting at windmills, it’s hard to argue with this success.

The abortion clinic backed down, and the law is now in place requiring a doctor who is credentialed and has admitting privileges within 30 miles of the abortion clinic (North Dakota has just the one in Fargo) to oversee the abortion.

The law was SB2305. It passed both houses of the state legislature with bipartisan majorities: 30 – 17 in the Senate and 58 – 34 in the House.

Here’s the text:

An abortion may not be performed by any person other than a physician who is using applicable medical standards and who is licensed to practice in this state. All physicians performing abortion procedures must have admitting privileges at a hospital located within thirty miles [42.28 kilometers] of the abortion facility and staff privileges to replace hospital on – staff physicians at that hospital. These privileges must include the abortion procedures the physician will be performing at abortion facilities. An abortion facility must have a staff member trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation present at all times when the abortion facility is open and abortions are scheduled to be performed.