North Dakota nurse has “very little hope” for future of abortion rights

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:23 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Sarah Haeder has been a nurse at the Red River Women’s Center, the only abortion clinic in North Dakota, since 2008.

The director of her program is headed home from Washington D.C. today after protesting outside the Supreme Court.

The nation’s highest court is hearing arguments over the Mississippi abortion law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.

The case that could lead to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions in the United States, being overturned.

Haeder says, after hearing what each Supreme Court judge had to say yesterday, she has very little hope for the future of abortion rights, and for her job here in Fargo.

She says 15 weeks is just too early.

“Women have very complicated lives. And sometimes they can’t get here until then.”

North Dakota is one of 12 states that has what’s called a “trigger law” in place. Meaning, the second Roe v. Wade is overturned, the state already has a law on the books that bans abortion in one form or another that would be triggered into becoming law.

In North Dakota, that means HB 1466 would go into effect, and abortion would immediately become illegal in except to “prevent the death of the pregnant female” or unless the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

Haeder says that if that happens, the Red River Women’s Clinic will have just 30 days to close their doors.

“What it means is that women do not get to determine their own destiny, they don’t have bodily autonomy, and they’re forced to carry pregnancies to term when either they don’t want to, they can’t afford to. It would be devastating,” she said.

Pro-life advocates believe abortion kills babies and this ban saves innocent children from dying. Haeder says the science doesn’t support that.

“At 24 weeks, if a baby is separated from the mother, that child would be able to continue to live with life saving interventions. [Scientists] think that before that point, a fetus isn’t able to survive on its own.”

Supporters of the Mississippi abortion ban say the decision should be left up to the states.

A few minutes walk down the street from the Fargo women’s center is Moorhead, Minnesota, where Haeder says the abortion is less likely to be banned.

They don’t have any concrete plans for the future, but Haeder says moving isn’t something they want, or even have the resources, to do.

“It wouldn’t be very easy to find a place that would suit our needs, that’s medical and has the sinks and things like that in every room.”

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