The Fargo Forum released the news this past week that the Red River Woman’s Clinic (RRWC) in Fargo has allowed a physician by the name of Tami Lynn Holst Thorndike from Denver, Colorado, to possibly continue to perform surgical procedures at their facility while not being licensed in the state of North Dakota. Click here for article.
If in fact the law was broken, and all indications say it was, it amounts to a Class B Felony under North Dakota law. There is also suspicion that other physicians practicing at the RRWC have violated the same law.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota is deeply disturbed at this disclosure of absolute disregard for the laws of North Dakota and especially the fact that women’s health has been put in serious jeopardy by this incident. The fact that unlicensed physicians have performed procedures that could at times be fatal on unsuspecting women clients is horrid. The fact that during these procedures there would be questions as to whether malpractice insurance would even cover any mishaps adds to the concern. Abortion is promoted as a women’s right issue, and that is the sad fact of life in our nation. This event speaks clearly to the public that women are NOT cared for by the abortion industry, but are only a tool for financial and political gain. As a woman, I am disgusted with the disregard of our medical rights under the law in this case and sincerely hope women who have been patients at the RRWC will come forth and pursue civil action here if criminality is indeed proven!
State licensure of any specialty is done to protect the people of a state from harm when it is difficult for the individual to be able to judge competency and when the cost of incompetence is very high. For example, licensure of grocery store managers is unnecessary, because the cost of incompetence is not very great. But licensure of lawyers and physicians is necessary because incompetence could be fatal. So, it is for the protection of the people of North Dakota that the state requires anyone practicing medicine to be licensed by the State. This licensure is the only safeguard to provide some measure of assurance that someone who is performing operations actually knows what they are doing.
The enforcement mechanism has been laid out clearly by the legislature to the Attorney General on these issues. Pending the report from the State Medical Examiners Board, led by Mr. Duane Houdek, there is no question of whether this is the case for the Attorney General of North Dakota or not, and, therefore, it is only a matter of time before it comes to his desk. The Forum article states that this is a matter of paper work and that States Attorney of Cass County, Mr. Burdick, is now looking into the investigation. CWA of North Dakota would suggest that under North Dakota law, this case should be eventually referred to the Attorney General’s Office with newly elected Wayne Stenehjem at the helm. If the hearing of the North Dakota Medical Examiners Board on November 19 establishes criminality in this case, then we have no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Stenehjem will pursue this case and use the authority given to him under the law to subpoena the necessary documents from the Health Department that would clearly show if Dr, Thorndike practiced medicine illegally in North Dakota from June 30, 2010, until the present, and to check, as well, into any possibility of another physician doing the same. And if evidence is found to warrant it, that he would prosecute this case to its fullest extent. There would be no burden for the prosecution to argue the rationale for having a license to practice medicine in the state. That was the job of the legislators when they developed the law.
The manager of RRWC, Tammy Kromenaker, has alluded to the fact that this was just a matter of a paper trail and of no great consequence. What? So, if obeying the laws of our state is not a serious matter to Ms. Kromenaker and her staff, what else might they be doing at the RRWC that ignores the law? Simply stated – those who live and operate under the laws of North Dakota, including abortionist Thorndike, are fully accountable to the law. If we do not enforce the laws, then what good are they? North Dakota lawmakers put laws into effect for the protection of the citizens, and here we have a clear violation of such laws. Again, we suggest that Attorney General Stenehjem, upon receipt of the Medical Examiners Board report, prosecute this case to the fullest while also ascertaining within the limits of the law whether the Red River Woman’s Clinic is in full compliance with the entire Abortion Control Act of our great state.
There have been public arguments that say this is only about abortion, and the pro-life community is acting on this with no regard to the law. This is absurd, as in fact, the North Dakota legislature has made sure, under the Abortion Control Act, that women have extra protection during such a medical procedure, almost more so that under other circumstances. So, yes we are unapologetically pro-life, but this issue goes further than abortion, and our laws must be enforced to the fullest extent of the laws!
We would also urge caution to the public here, as there is certainly outrage over this case. Allow the legal system we have to run its due course. CWA of North Dakota has no doubt that the authorities given the power under North Dakota law will apply the law to its fullest extent in order to protect the citizens of North Dakota.
Concerned Women for America
North Dakota State Director