North Dakota’s only abortion clinic raised more than $670,000 over the weekend to move to a nearby blue state after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion.
For over 20 years, the Red River Women’s Clinic, located in Fargo, N.D., has been the only provider offering abortion care services in the state, according to its GoFundMe fundraiser. Abortion will soon become illegal in North Dakota, as a law banning the procedure is awaiting certification from the Republican attorney general. A trigger law could soon make it a felony for anyone to perform abortions in the state, except to save the life of the mother.
In preparation for the ban, Red River Women’s Clinic is planning to move its operations across state lines to neighboring Minnesota, where the procedure is protected. A GoFundMe, organized by North Dakota Abortion Defender, an unknown ally, on the clinic’s behalf, went live last Friday to fund renovations and furnishings for a new location in Moorhead, Minn., which is located right on the state line.
“This clinic-contingency plan a few miles away (and across the Red River) is the best option to ensure care is not interrupted for people seeking abortions in this region,” North Dakota Abortion Defender wrote in the GoFundMe.
After the Supreme Court officially reversed Roe Friday, the organizer announced it would raise the fundraising goal, which was originally $20,000, to $250,000 to “reflect the urgent need set by this decision.” The money will go toward a fence, security equipment, repairs, and telephone installation, according to the GoFundMe page. It has since exceeded that goal, receiving over $670,000 from 8,500 donors as of Monday afternoon.
On Sunday, North Dakota Abortion Defender set a new goal of $1,000,000 to fund the contract for and implementation of a “tele-health medication abortion service for people residing in legal states.”
The clinic’s contingency plan dates back to May, when its director purchased the Minnesota location after a leaked draft opinion earlier that month showed the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe, the Star Tribune reported.
The Red River Women’s Clinic did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.
But Jane Bovard, who founded the Red River Women’s Clinic, told local Minnesota news outlet the St. Paul Pioneer Press she considered a potential threat to legal abortion when naming the clinic more than 20 years ago. She said that if abortion became illegal in North Dakota, naming the clinic for the sprawling Red River that forms the state’s border with Minnesota meant it could move across and still maintain the same name and identity.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order Saturday providing legal protections to people who come there for reproductive health services from states where abortion is now illegal or criminalized.
“While abortion remains legal in Minnesota, Minnesota’s neighboring states are expected to severely restrict reproductive freedom,” Walz said in a statement. “Your reproductive freedom will remain protected in Minnesota as long as I am in office.”
Minnesota joins Illinois as one of the only two states in the upper Midwest where abortion rights are likely to stay protected.
Until the trigger law takes full effect, Red River Women’s Clinic will remain operational and continue providing services in North Dakota, according to the GoFundMe page. Its eventual move could mark the first time in more than 40 years that North Dakota will not have a facility providing abortions.
Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, told the Associated Press in late May that the organization would consider offering abortion services across the border from its own clinic in Moorhead, Minnesota if the Red River Women’s Clinic cannot relocate quickly.
“Planned Parenthood will begin offering abortions at our Moorhead facility so that women in the region have no interruption in services,” she said.
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