National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Settlement Considered Over Blocked N.D. Admitting Privileges Law

Settlement Considered Over Blocked N.D. Admitting Privileges Law

February 11, 2014 — The Center for Reproductive Rights and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) are in talks to potentially settle a lawsuit over a state law (SB 2305) requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, Bloomberg reports.

State Judge Wickham Corwin temporarily blocked the law on July 31, one day before it was scheduled to take effect. The trial, now on hold, was originally scheduled for Feb. 11.

No Details on Settlement Talks  

CRR attorney Autumn Katz said in an email that CRR and the state "are in settlement negotiations in the case."

Stenehjem spokesperson Liz Brocker in an email confirmed the trial's cancelation but declined to provide further details (Harris, Bloomberg, 2/10).

Case Background

CRR filed suit over the law in May 2013 on behalf of the Red River Women's Clinic of Fargo. CRR argued in its challenge that the measure poses an unconstitutional infringement on a woman's right to an abortion, noting that the law's "purpose is to shut down the clinic, the sole abortion facility in the state."

Red River Director Tammi Kromenaker had pointed out that the three area hospitals -- a veteran's hospital, a facility affiliated with the Catholic Church and one that requires doctors to admit at least five patients annually to have privileges -- were unlikely to grant admitting privileges to the clinic's doctors.

Corwin said in granting a preliminary injunction against the law, "As RRWC provides its physicians with the appropriate staff and facilities, there is obviously no need for a legislative mandate that each of those physicians be credentialed to also perform abortions at a local hospital" (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/1/13).