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Forum staff reports, Published March 15 2013

Abortion in America and North Dakota since 1973

Jan. 22, 1973: U.S. Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion.

1975: Jane Bovard heads up North Dakota chapter of National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League.

1976: National abortion rights group Women’s Health Organization formed.

Oct. 1, 1981: With help from WHO, Bovard opens Fargo’s first abortion clinic. Anti-abortion protests and prayers begin a few days later.

Oct. 1983: Fargo Women’s Health Organization hires private security to deal with picketers.

April 1984: Fargo WHO asks city for picketing regulations in response to protesters blocking entrances.

June 1984: Protesters begin picketing Jane Bovard’s north Fargo home.

Nov. 1984: Fargo Mayor Jon Lindgren introduces city ordinance that would prohibit residential picketing.

Dec. 1984: Anti-abortion activist Darold Larson arrested for criminal trespass after entering Fargo WHO dressed as Santa Claus.

Sept. 1987: 5,000 people gather for peaceful abortion protest outside Fargo WHO.

Nov. 1988: West Fargo man indicted by federal grand jury for August 1987 attempted firebombing of Fargo WHO clinic. Pleads guilty and sentenced to two months in prison.

July 1989: U.S. Supreme Court gives states the potential authority to limit abortion.

Dec. 1989: 12 people arrested outside Fargo WHO for criminal trespass after blocking entrance to clinic.

Feb. 1991: North Dakota Legislature passes toughest anti-abortion legislation in nation, banning abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when mother’s life in danger.

March 1991: Twenty-six abortion protesters arrested after entering Fargo WHO and chaining themselves together at the neck with Kryptonite bike locks.

April 1991: Gov. George Sinner vetoes anti-abortion legislation but signs informed consent law mandating 24-hour waiting period and women seeking abortion to receive informational materials about the procedure and alternatives.

May 31, 1991: Lambs of Christ make first appearance at Fargo WHO. Two dozen abortion protesters arrested after storming clinic and attaching themselves to steel pipes and metal boxes, requiring locksmiths to free them.

June 1991: Fargo WHO files lawsuit against Gov. Sinner and Attorney General Nick Spaeth over abortion restriction law.

Aug. 24, 1991: Federal Judge Rodney Webb grants preliminary injunction, delaying enforcement of informed consent law.

Oct. 25, 1991: Fargo WHO wins restraining order and temporary injunction severely limiting picketing at clinic.

Nov. 21, 1991: Forty-five protesters arrested outside Fargo WHO for disobeying judicial order.

April 1992: Firebomb causes minor damage to Fargo WHO.

Jan. 1993: President Bill Clinton signs executive orders loosening abortion restrictions on 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Aug. 1993: Abortion protester from Oregon, who spent time in Cass County Jail in 1991 for Fargo WHO protests, is charged with attempted murder in shooting of doctor outside Wichita, Kan., abortion clinic.

Feb. 1994: Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds North Dakota informed consent law.

May 1994: Congress approves legislation making it a federal crime to block access to an abortion clinic, or use force or threats against employees or patients. President Clinton signs Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act.

July 30, 1994: Doctor and security escort shot and killed outside Pensacola abortion clinic. Anti-abortion activist arrested. U.S. Marshals brought in to guard abortion clinics nationwide.

March 1995: Federal Magistrate Karen Klein strikes down 16-year-old North Dakota law prohibiting state-funded abortions, except when necessary to save a woman’s life.

1997: Jane Bovard parts ways with Fargo WHO.

July 1998: Bovard opens Red River Women’s Clinic at 512 1st. Ave. N., Fargo, along with retired abortion doctor George Miks and a silent partner.

Jan. 2001: Fargo WHO clinic closes, citing business and financial reasons, again leaving the city with one abortion facility.

Feb. 2003: U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifts nationwide ban on protests that interfere with abortion clinic business.

Jan. 2005: North Dakota lawmaker introduces bill calling for anyone who performs an abortion to be charged with murder.

March 2006: Abortion protester Martin Wishnatsky posts pictures on the Internet of patients entering Red River Women’s Clinic.

Sept. 2007: First annual 40 Days for Life vigil is held in Fargo, held in part by Catholic Diocese of Fargo.

Sept. 2008: RRWC uses clinic escorts for the first time, during 40 Days for Life vigil.

June 2011: Fargo Catholic Diocese opens chapel in building neighboring the RRWC. Offers Mass every Wednesday, the day abortions are performed.

Aug. 2011: RRWC granted restraining order in its lawsuit against new state law limiting medication-induced abortions. Trial set for April 2013.

Friday: The North Dakota Senate approved banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, sending what would be the most stringent abortion restrictions in the U.S. to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature.