- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The director of North Dakota’s only abortion clinic said Wednesday her staff would stop providing abortions with pills, but would continue offering surgical abortions.

The decision of the Red River Women’s Clinic to cease “medication abortions” followed a split ruling Tuesday by the North Dakota Supreme Court that upheld a 2011 law banning the off-label use of a stomach-ulcer drug in abortions.

The Fargo clinic may decide to appeal to a federal court, but for the moment, the clinic will stop offering medication abortions, clinic director Tammi Kromenaker told The Associated Press.

Medication abortions, sometimes called “chemical” abortions, are conducted with a dose of mifepristone — an abortifacient commonly known as RU-486 — combined with a dose of misoprostol, which is known as Cytotec and is federally approved to treat ulcers.

When used in abortions, misoprostol helps a woman expel the body of the fetus.

However, reported adverse effects of such use include severe vaginal bleeding, incomplete evacuation of pregnancy, uterine hyperstimulation and damage to the uterus.

In North Dakota, a law can only be ruled unconstitutional with the agreement of four of the five judges on the state’s Supreme Court. In Tuesday’s 103-page ruling, two judges said it was permissible to ban the off-label use of misoprostol in abortions.

Lawyers with the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights were considering their next steps for the clinic, Ms. Kromenaker said.

Medication abortions were used at the clinic on pregnancies that were 63 or fewer days old, and comprised about 20 percent of the caseload, she told AP.

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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