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'Prayer warriors' gather at future site of abortion clinic in Moorhead

Members of 40 Days for Life, a grassroots movement to end abortion, gathered outside an office building in north Moorhead Thursday, which is being readied as the new location for the Red River Women's Clinic.

Several women, one seated on a walker, and one man stand outside an office building holding signs that oppose abortion.
Members of 40 Days for Life, described as a grassroots movement to end abortion, pray in front of a building at 302 Highway 75 North in Moorhead, the new location for the Red River Women’s Clinic, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — A half-dozen or so people gathered to sing, pray and hold signs on Thursday, Aug. 4, outside a building that will be the new home of the Red River Women’s Clinic.

North Dakota’s only abortion facility, located in downtown Fargo, is slated to move to Moorhead after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, starting the clock ticking on the state’s trigger law banning abortion.

The near complete abortion ban was first set to begin July 28, but in the wake of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Red River Women's Clinic, a judge ruled North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley “prematurely attempted to execute the triggering language” of the law.

The abortion ban is now set to take effect in North Dakota on Friday, Aug. 26, barring other developments.

Members of 40 Days for Life, a grassroots movement to end abortion, gathered for a few hours Thursday on the sidewalk outside the clinic’s new location at 302 Highway 75 N. in Moorhead.

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“We would like to really see this place never open, … that would be our prayer, our hope,” said Jody Clemens, who was among the self-described “prayer warriors.”

Until now, Red River Women’s Clinic Director Tammi Kromenaker had not publicly revealed the future location of the facility, citing safety and security concerns.

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However, she acknowledged the new site in a statement sent to The Forum on Thursday, saying it will be a “short 5 minutes away” from the current downtown Fargo location.

“We could not be prouder to be able to continue to provide abortion care to our community and the region. This has not been an easy undertaking. Providers should not have to go to these lengths to provide healthcare,” Kromenaker said in the statement.

She added that clinic staff had been looking for a suitable location in Moorhead for more than a year, but their hand was forced by the recent Supreme Court decision.

An online fundraiser for the clinic to help pay for the move to Moorhead is inching toward $1 million dollars, sitting at just under $985,000 as of Thursday afternoon.

Kromenaker said the office building purchased is much larger than the clinic’s needs and houses several other tenants.

“Whether they stay or seek other options is up to them. Our long range goal is to rent out all of the space in the building which we do not need to compatible tenants, thereby providing the Clinic with long term financial stability,” Kromenaker said.

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She also noted the clinic has been welcomed to Moorhead from all levels including city and state officials, state representatives, Gov. Tim Walz, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and others.

“It is refreshing to be supported and lifted up rather than to face hostility,” Kromenaker said.

On Tuesday, an organization announced it would lead a coalition to keep the Red River Women’s Clinic from opening in Moorhead.

PLAM Action is a new branch of the long-established Pro-Life Action Ministries, which is based in St. Paul.

Tim Miller, PLAM Action executive director, who is also a Republican state representative for District 17A in west-central Minnesota, said the coalition includes members of the Catholic faith, multiple Catholic dioceses, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and 40 Days for Life.

While there’s likely no legal way to keep the abortion clinic out, he said, his group plans to “make a move problematic for them.”

Miller said he advises residents to speak up.

“I really believe that if the people of Moorhead don't want this, they can apply the pressure where necessary to ensure that it doesn't happen,” Miller said.

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He also said this issue is more than just a clinic moving from Fargo to Moorhead.

“This is part of a broader effort to move along the borders of Minnesota and create as (many) accessible abortions to people from other states as possible. I don't think that's right, and the people that are working for this coalition certainly don't think it's right,” Miller said.

Members of 40 Days for Life say they’ll continue to gather outside the clinic in downtown Fargo on Wednesdays, when abortions are performed, and at the new Moorhead site on Thursdays, until further notice.

In addition to the sidewalk ministry, Colleen Samson said she and Clemens are involved with crisis pregnancy centers and helping women find alternatives to abortion.

Clemens said she helped place more than 100 babies for adoption over an 18-year period.

“Do we wish we didn't have to be here? Sure,” Clemens said.

“But God has brought us here to love these women,” Samson added.

Huebner is a 35+ year veteran of broadcast and print journalism in Fargo-Moorhead.
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