North Dakota Abortion Clinic Gets Required Hospital Access

A Dakotas-based health care system has granted hospital-admitting privileges to doctors at North Dakota's sole abortion provider, which would bring the Fargo clinic into compliance with a new state law.

In a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, Sanford Health said physicians at the Red River Women's Clinic have been credentialed at its hospital in Fargo.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is helping the clinic, filed a lawsuit in state court last year challenging the law that requires doctors who perform abortions to obtain hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of the abortion facility.

The case was slated for trial this week but was taken off the docket as a result of settlement talks, which the Center for Reproductive Rights announced this week without elaborating.

Opponents had said the 2013 law would effectively make abortions illegal in North Dakota. They feared it would be impossible for doctors performing abortions to meet the number of hospital visits required to gain admitting privileges because the procedure is safe and women rarely need further care requiring hospitalization.

A state judge in July granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the law from taking effect.

Eight states have passed laws what require that an abortion provider have admitting privileges at a local hospital, but laws have only taken effect in Texas, Utah and Tennessee. Utah and Tennessee have not been challenged in court. Judges have blocked similar legislation in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Wisconsin.

-The Associated Press