SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In the two months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion access across the country has changed drastically. In South Dakota, access to abortion was immediately banned but across the border, North Dakota has been in limbo when it comes to abortion care.

As of today, North Dakota no longer has an abortion provider.

The Red River Women’s Clinic recently made the move across the river from Fargo, North Dakota to Moorhead, Minnesota. The move was completed late in the summer, but the plans began long before the fall of Roe.

“Because either it was going to be Roe v. Wade, or it was going to be the North Dakota legislature that was going to make it impossible to provide abortion care going forward,” clinic director Tammi Kromenaker said.

When the Dobbs decision leaked in late May, the clinic accelerated their move across the river to Minnesota where abortion access is protected in the state constitution. They spent the month of June working to open the new clinic as the country awaited the official decision from the Court.

“We literally signed the paperwork purchasing the building on June 23. And Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24. And so, we, you know, diligently worked long hours long days, to try and ready the space for our patients,” Kromenaker said.

Now, the clinic is settled in its new space in Moorhead, only five minutes away from their previous location.

“So even though we’re open in Moorhead, and we’re seeing patients here, there are already patients and we’ve already heard from them in South Dakota for the last couple of months who themselves know abortion is already illegal in their state asking questions,” Kromenaker said.

Kromenaker said that patients in South Dakota have been asking whether they are able to cross state lines for abortion care and now, with the North Dakota trigger ban still up in the air, so are North Dakota patients.

“Before Dobbs was even overturned, I had a young person from western South Dakota, who said, you know, she was quite scared for herself and her friends, because what did their future look like?” Kromenaker recalled.

Prior to the fall of Roe, Kromenaker said the clinic had already seen an increase in patients from South Dakota during 2020 when Planned Parenthood paused abortion services in Sioux Falls. Once abortion services resumed, the 72-hour waiting period continued to push South Dakotans north, according to Kromenaker.

“Many patients found the trip requirement to Sioux Falls extremely burdensome. And so they would come to our clinic to avoid that, because they could come and be seen in one day and not have to make multiple trips,” Kromenaker said.

While the location in Fargo, and now Moorhead, will still force patients to travel hours for abortion care, Kromenaker said that they chose Fargo as the location for their clinic because of the support they found in that community that they would not have found elsewhere.

“There’s other communities in both North and South Dakota, that would have been very hostile to an abortion care provider coming in. So, there’s community support, open to you know, travel like the airport, you know, as close by able to have other medical care providers surrounding us,” Kromenaker said.

Like South Dakota, North Dakota has a telemedicine abortion ban in place so if the trigger ban does go into effect, there will be no access to abortion for North Dakotans.

Now, a Burleigh County District Judge is reviewing arguments from the state of North Dakota and the clinic to determine whether a trigger ban will be allowed to go into effect.

The day before the ban was set to take effect in August, Judge Bruce Romanick granted a preliminary injunction on behalf of the clinic, barring the law from going into effect. 

“You know, the judge said that, you know, this was not the final decision,” Kromenaker explained. “Usually when they grant injunctions, they let you know if they think you’re going to win on the merits of the case or not. And he said, ‘you know, that’s not necessarily the case here. But it’s maintaining the status quo.’”

On Friday, the North Dakota Attorney General asked the judge to lift his stay on the trigger ban to allow it to go into effect. The Attorney General’s office argued that the judge failed to make Red River Women’s Clinic show “a likelihood of prevailing in the case.”

Kromenaker worries that the trigger ban decision may become moot by January when the North Dakota legislature convenes once again in Bismarck.

“Because they would pass a law that would be even more substantially restrictive than anything that we’re dealing with right now,” Kromenaker said.

But no matter what happens, Kromenaker wants to let the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota know that the doors to the Red River Women’s Clinic are open in Moorehead, Minnesota.

“We’re going to be here, and they can see us and we’re going to take really good care of them,” Kromenaker said.