Any given day in downtown Fargo, residents can see protestors lining First Avenue outside the Red River Valley Women’s Clinic. Approximately half a dozen pro-life protestors sported signs and handed out flyers Wednesday, the only day of the week that the clinic is open for appointments.
The Red River Valley Women’s Clinic offers a variety of services for women including, but not limited to, pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease testing, supplying birth control and medication, and suction abortions. This is the only clinic in the state of North Dakota that offers abortion services.
Two organizations at North Dakota State weighed in on this highly controversial, and at times taboo, subject matter.
“I think the main objective of the protesting is to educate. I mean, just to present the different options that are available to the women that are in these situations,” NDSU Collegians for Life Public Relations Officer Nathan Marcotte said. One place to learn about these options: FirstChoice Clinic.
NDSU Collegians for Life works closely with FirstChoice because it provides information and options that are abortion alternatives, Emma Twedt, Vice President of NDSU Collegians for Life, said. Some of these alternatives include parenting education classes, connecting pregnant women with prenatal care and community resources and references.
FirstClinic also offers post abortion recovery resources.
Another group on campus that has ties to the Red River Valley Women’s Clinic is the Women’s Activist Organization. Their goal is to, “inform and educate students on campus and in the community on, really anything that would go under the feminist agenda,” Liv Oland, president of the WAO, said. This includes pro-life and pro-choice ideals.
The organization’s official stance is pro-choice, Oland and WAO Secretary Jenika Rufer said in unison.
Rufer believes the protestors are coming from a good place, but will not deter women from going into the clinic. “These women that go there, they know what they’re doing. They thought their choices through. They go in there and get support and counseling from the people that work there,” she said.
Part of the support comes from a one-hour sit-down with a psychologist. “You have one full hour of speaking to a psychologist in there about what you’re doing with your choice. So, if there’s ever a moment when they doubt it, they’re stopped,” Oland said.
WAO works closest with the Red River Valley Women’s Clinic during escort training. Each year, the organization pairs with the clinic to train volunteers to safely escort and support patients into the building.
Protesting is expected to ramp up as 40 Days of Life nears. The campaign is community based and “takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion,” according to their website, and starts Sept. 27 and ends Nov. 5. During this time there are expected to be protests outside the Red River Valley Women’s Clinic around the clock.
For more information about either organization, they both have active Facebook pages and contacts within each organization that can be reached through NDSU’s Congress of Student Organization’s website. Both organizations will also have booths at Wednesday’s involvement expo.