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Abortion clinic sues to block N.D. law it says would force it to close

FARGO, N.D., May 16 (UPI) -- The only abortion clinic in North Dakota has sued the state to block enforcement of a new law the clinic says could force it to close.

The law, which goes into effect Aug. 1, requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

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The suit, filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the clinic, claims the purpose of the law "is to shut down the clinic" and is an unconstitutional infringement on the right to abortion.

Doctors who perform abortions at the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo are flown in from out of state. The physicians are unlikely to get admitting privileges at local hospitals, said Tammi Kromenaker, director of the clinic.

One of the hospitals is a veterans' hospital, one has Roman Catholic affiliations and the third requires a doctor to admit at least five patients a year.

Kromenaker said any of the clinic's doctors who had to admit five patients "would not be working at this clinic." The clinic has performed thousands of abortions since opening in 1998, she said, and only one patient had to be taken to the emergency room. There have been no deaths.

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The law also limits abortions to the first six weeks of gestation. The clinic does not perform any abortions after 16 weeks, while the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a woman can legally have an abortion until the fetus is about 24 weeks old.

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