North Dakota TRAP Could End Abortion in the State

While the widely publicized proposed Personhood Amendment is causing the most blatant threat to the pro-choice movement, North Dakota’s TRAP bill will more likely shut down the only abortion-providing women’s clinic in the state. The targeted regulation of the abortion provider bill has a similar strategy to Alabama’s "Women’s Health and Safety Act," which is marketed as an aid to women, but would actually create unnecessary regulations that would ultimately make abortions near impossible to get.

SB 2305, which has been passed in the state house and is on its way to Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple, is a targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) bill that would require the state’s only abortion provider, Red River Women’s Clinic, to obtain hospital-admitting privileges if its doctors wish to continue offering pregnancy terminations. 

Tammi Kromenaker, the director of Red River Women’s Clinic (RRWC), told RH Reality Check "We definitely see the TRAP bill as the one that will end abortion in the state. The other bills aren’t really a threat, but this one could close us."

RRWC is the only women’s clinic that provides abortion services in North Dakota; abortion services that are legal, anonymous and safe. The need for the "safety" bill is fabricated, as the clinic has higher than average safety records and it’s titles as a "women’s safety" bill is therefore misleading.

The bill requires hospital privileges from a hospital within a 30-mile radius, which only includes two facilities in the state. The closest and most logical hospital is Sanford, as it's five blocks from RRWC, but for privileges a doctor must admit ten patients a year. This makes the usage of that hospital impossible, as Kromenaker has only had to admit one patient in the last ten years.  

She explains, "we are very selective about the physicians we hire for our clinic, because we know we are a target. As the only clinic in the state, of course we have worked to ensure that we have the highest quality doctors. I would never employ a doctor who had to admit ten patients a year. That would mean they were a terrible doctor."  

This makes the very local Sanford hospital a non-option. The only other hospital, Essentia Health, is five miles away, so in the case of an emergency it becomes a riskier and more dangerous option for women.

Lawmakers masking the bill as an aid to women’s health is incorrect and manipulative. If the bill is passed, the Red River Women’s Clinic would not want to risk the safety of their patients, so they would not be able to perform abortion services. The TRAP bill hinders options for women’s health and place unnecessary regulations that would end an important and legal service at North Dakota's only abortion providing women's clinic.