#528 – Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, ND

Listen to the Call:

512 1ST AVE. N.

TAPE – 528

(dialing sounds) (ringing 1X)

CLINIC: Red River Women’s Clinic. Can I help you?

CALLER: Hi. Yeah. I was calling because I was talking to Marla in Wisconsin — well, in Minnesota. I’m sorry. And she told me to call you guys.

CLINIC: About?

CALLER: About getting an abortion.

CLINIC: Okay. Where do you live?

CALLER: I live in Plummer.

CLINIC: Where?

CALLER: Plummer, Minnesota.

CLINIC: Palmer?

CALLER: Plummer.

CLINIC: Where is Plummer?

CALLER: It’s by Thief River Falls.

CLINIC: Okay. All right. So you just wanted to make an appointment?


CLINIC: Okay. Hold on just one moment.

CLINIC: Hi. My name is Maggie. I understand you want to make an appointment?

CALLER: Well, I just was wanting to ask some questions first really.


CALLER: I’m just worried because like, well, I’m going to be 14 in March, and my friend told me that you guys would have to tell my parents I’m getting an abortion. But my boyfriend’s 22. Is he old enough to take care of it and you wouldn’t have to tell anybody?

CLINIC: It’s your age we’re concerned about, not his. How old are you?

CALLER: What? I’ll be 14 in March.

CLINIC: Okay. We would have to either have you go through the court system if you didn’t want to tell your parents. Where are you from?

CALLER: I’m in Minnesota.

CLINIC: You’re in Minnesota. Okay. And you’re 14?

CALLER: I’ll be 14 in March.

CLINIC: In March you’ll be 14.


CLINIC: Okay. And you know you’re pregnant?

CALLER: Well, I’m not real sure.

CLINIC: You’re not real sure?

CALLER: I just haven’t had my period since like December 21st, and I’m scared.

CLINIC: You haven’t had it since December 21st?

CALLER: Right.

CLINIC: Was December 21st the first day of your last menstrual period?

CALLER: Yeah. But Marla told me that, like I called the Planned Parenthood here in Thief River Falls, and she told me that I could come in there for a pregnancy test.


CALLER: But would that be okay?

CLINIC: Definitely. I think you should get a pregnancy test. You can either go there and get one, or you can just go to the store and get an over-the-counter one.


CLINIC: You’d be far enough along that it would show pregnant or not pregnant.


CLINIC: Easily. So just — if we looked at your last menstrual period and the first day of it was the 21st you said?


CLINIC: Okay. Then at this point you’d be looking at right around between 9 and 10 weeks pregnant.


CLINIC: So you would want to, if you’re considering having an abortion, schedule something as soon as possible.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: And our first available date is going to be the 14th.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: Okay? Of March.

CALLER: Okay. Well, how much would that cost?

CLINIC: Well, if you’re still in the first trimester between 7 weeks and 11 weeks, 6 days and you’re going to be close. You’re going to be close to 12 weeks — the cost is $425. And we take our blood and test it, and if you have a negative blood type we have to give you a special shot, and that’s another $50. So you’re looking at $475.

CALLER: Okay. Well, my boyfriend said he would pay for everything. But would he have to fill out anything? He just doesn’t want my parents to find out.

CLINIC: No. We take our payment in cash or credit card.


CLINIC: And nobody would have to find that out. But we do need, if you’re not going to let your parents know then we need to have you go in front of a judge.

CALLER: Oh. Well, how do I do that?

CLINIC: Well, we would have you come here and see the judge.

CALLER: Would it make any difference that I live in Minnesota?

CLINIC: You know, I don’t think so, but I’m going to put you on hold for a second and ask. Okay?

CALLER: All right.


CLINIC: Okay. Thanks for holding.

CALLER: Uh-huh.

CLINIC: Okay. Here’s what we need to do. What you need to do is set up an appointment — if this is what you’re going to do.


CLINIC: You know if this is what you’re going to do, or are you still in the process of deciding?

CALLER: Well, me and my boyfriend have talked about this a lot, and if it ended up that I was pregnant that’s what we need to do.

CLINIC: Okay. The first thing you need to do is find out if you’re pregnant. If you’ve missed your period since December 21st, you have got a pretty good chance that you are.


CLINIC: So get the pregnancy test done. We need to have you come in no later than the 15th. And Friday March 15 is really the soonest I can see you. And that’s the day I have to see you because you have to go to court. Okay?

CALLER: Okay. Well, do I need to set up an appointment for then?

CLINIC: You need to set up an appointment for the abortion, and we’ll have you come in early by 8:30.


CLINIC: And then we’ll go see the judge and he just makes sure you’re competent to make the decisions you’re making.

CALLER: Does he ever say no?

CLINIC: Since I’ve been here, no.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: So we’ll do that.

CALLER: Would my boyfriend have to go in with me?

CLINIC: No. Actually – you mean in to court?


CLINIC: No. No. He’s actually not allowed to go to court with you because we have other girls that might be going that day as well.


CLINIC: He can come into the clinic and wait for you. You know, he can come up with you and wait and go through the whole process as far as waiting in the waiting room for the most part. But he can’t go with you to the courthouse.




CLINIC: What’s your name?

CALLER: It’s Christine.

CLINIC: Christine?

CALLER: Uh-huh.

CLINIC: I would suggest we go ahead and fill out your appointment sheet.


CLINIC: So we have your appointment set.

CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: And then I’ll give you all the information you need so you can ask some questions. Because if you’re going to come here, you’re going to have to come here on that day at 8:30. Okay?

CALLER: Okay. Well, I’m supposed to have a pregnancy test with Marla this afternoon. So should I call you after that?

CLINIC: You know, let’s set up the appointment and you can call and cancel if you’re not pregnant.


CLINIC: But I just — I have a feeling that you’re pregnant. (laughs)


CLINIC: I mean, that’s a pretty — yeah. Let’s do that.


CLINIC: Okay. How do you spell Christine?

CALLER: It’s “C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-E.”

CLINIC: Okay. And your last name?

CALLER: It’s Smith.

CLINIC: Can you spell that?


CLINIC: Oh. Smith. Okay. And where are you from?

CALLER: I’m from — I live in Plummer, Minnesota.

CLINIC: Palmer?

CALLER: Plummer.

CLINIC: Plummer. Sorry. How far away is that?


CLINIC: How far away is that?

CALLER: It’s not real far.


CALLER: My boyfriend said we could probably be there in like an hour or so.

CLINIC: Okay. Yeah. I’ve got to schedule you early because you need to go through some paperwork here and some, get some information before you go see the judge, so we have to get that all started at 8:30 in the morning.


CLINIC: Okay? So I’m going to put you down for March 15.


CLINIC: At 8:30. I’m going to give you a conformation number. I want you to hang on to this.


CLINIC: Let’s see. 3155.

CALLER: 3155?

CLINIC: Yep. And what you need to do, when you call us back this afternoon to let us know about the pregnancy test, you give that number along with your name, and we know that it’s you and we can protect your privacy. Okay?

CALLER: Okay. It’s just, the thing is, my boyfriend doesn’t want anybody to know. Would he have to — like he’s paying for everything. Would he have to sign anything though?

CLINIC: All he has to do when he comes up here is, we need to have him and you both bring a picture ID so that we can recognize you at the door if he decides to leave for a cigarette. We can let him back in. That’s just for our purposes.

CALLER: Well, what if I don’t have a picture ID?

CLINIC: Well, you need to bring —

CALLER: I’m homeschooled. I don’t —

CLINIC: — a high school picture ID would be okay.

CALLER: But I’m homeschooled. I don’t go to high school.

CLINIC: Okay. Between now and the 15th, do you think you can get like a state ID? They just have like a Minnesota ID that’s not a driver’s license, just an ID?

CALLER: How long does that take?

CLINIC: How about a birth certificate?

CALLER: Well, yeah, I have one of those.

CLINIC: Can you bring your birth certificate?

CALLER: Would that work?

CLINIC: That would work.

CALLER: But it doesn’t have my picture or anything.

CLINIC: That’s okay. As long as we know who you are, and that’s proof of who you are.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: For you, we need proof of who you are. For him, we’d like a picture ID so we can recognize him coming back in the door if he has to leave.


CLINIC: Because we have a security system here.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: Okay. How old are you right now?

CALLER: I’ll be — I’m 13 right now. I’ll be 14 —

CLINIC: What’s your birth date?

CALLER: It’s March 19, 1988.

CLINIC: Okay. And how did you find out about us?

CALLER: From Marla and the Thief River Falls Planned Parenthood.

CLINIC: Okay. And have you ever been pregnant before?


CLINIC: Okay. I just need to go through a list of questions and give you some information.


CLINIC: Okay? We’ll just get this all out of the way, okay?

CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: Are you allergic to any medications?

CALLER: Not that I know of.

CLINIC: Are you allergic to latex gloves?


CLINIC: Do you know your blood type?


CLINIC: Are you currently taking any drugs, meds, or herbs?


CLINIC: Have you ever had diabetes?


CLINIC: Asthma?

CALLER: Well, yeah, when I was little. But it went away.

CLINIC: Okay. High blood pressure?


CLINIC: Okay. Heart condition?


CLINIC: Seizures or convulsions?


CLINIC: Tuberculosis?


CLINIC: Have you ever been hospitalized for any reason?

CALLER: Well, I had my tonsils out when I was 9.

CLINIC: Okay. I need a number I can reach you at during the daytime, and let me know if it’s a work, home, or cell number.

CALLER: Oh. Well, my boyfriend got a cell phone number, but he just got it, and I don’t know the number yet.


CALLER: Could I tell you that after I call you this afternoon?

CLINIC: Yeah. You need to give me that for sure. I need a way to get ahold of you.




CLINIC: Okay. I’m going to give you the prices of the first and second trimester since you’re awfully close, or you will be when you come in.


CLINIC: And you don’t have any Minnesota medical assistance I would imagine, huh?

CALLER: No. My boyfriend said he would pay for everything.

CLINIC: Okay, great. For first trimester that’s 7 to 11 weeks, 6 days — you’ll be awfully close, between 11 and 12 weeks — the cost is $425, and if we have to give you that special shot it’s additional $50.


CLINIC: So that’s a total of $475 in cash or credit card.


CLINIC: Now, if you are 12 weeks to 13 weeks, 6 days, which you might be close to 12 weeks, so you might be 12 weeks, and we’ll find out when you get here — we’ll do an ultrasound —


CLINIC: The cost is $450 for the abortion. So it goes up $25, and then the cost of the shot is $110.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: Because we have go give you a full does rather than the mini-dose. If you happen to have that negative blood type. It’s not always the case, but it’s good to be prepared.


CLINIC: So be prepared to bring $560.


CLINIC: Okay? No checks or money orders. Cash or credit card only. You can expect here four to five hours.


CLINIC: One adult may come in with you. No children. Bring a picture ID for yourself and the other person that comes, but we know you’re going to bring — I’m going to write down that you’re going to bring your birth certificate.

CALLER: Okay. It’s all right if my boyfriend comes with me?

CLINIC: Yeah. It’s okay if he comes.

CALLER: And you’re sure you wouldn’t have to tell anybody that I was there?

CLINIC: We protect your privacy. That’s why we give you the confirmation number. We don’t give out any information about you.


CLINIC: If somebody thought you were coming here and they called us and said, “Does Christine Smith have an appointment?” we wouldn’t acknowledge you at all.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: We would ask for that confirmation number. If they have the confirmation number, we would give them information. So don’t give that to anybody.


CLINIC: Unless, you know, you and your boyfriend if he needs to call us for some reason.


CLINIC: But always have that confirmation number available, okay?

CALLER: Okay. So I’ll call you back this afternoon. Is that all right?

CLINIC: That’s fine, but I still just have a little bit more information to give you.


CLINIC: Okay? Can you hang on for five minutes?

CALLER: Well, I’m actually at my friend’s house, and her mom is here. Is it all right if I call you back real quick?

CLINIC: Okay. That would be fine.

CALLER: Okay. Thanks.

CLINIC: Bye bye.

(phone clicks)

TAPE – 528 Pt 2: The Call Back

(dialing sound) (ringing 2X)

CLINIC: Red River Women’s Clinic. How can I help you?

CALLER: Is Maggie there?

CLINIC: This is she.

CALLER: Hi. I was just calling you back.

CLINIC: Okay. Is this Christine?


CLINIC: Okay. I’m just going to continue what I was telling you.

CALLER: It’s just, her mom is in the house, so I got to be quick. So.

CLINIC: That’s fine. I’m actually not going to ask any more questions of you. I just want you to listen.

CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: Except that I will need the addresses — names and addresses of your parents, not to tell them, but the judge needs to have that information sitting in front of him. He’s not going to tell your parents. But that information needs to be available. We’re regular —

CALLER: Well, how much does it cost for the judge?

CLINIC: Nothing.

CALLER: Really?

CLINIC: Everything’s included in the price of the abortion.


CLINIC: You don’t have to worry about that.

CALLER: But would he have to tell my parents at all?

CLINIC: No. That’s why you’re going in front of the judge so that you don’t have to tell your parents.

CALLER: Oh. Well, would I have to tell the judge about my boyfriend?

CLINIC: (laughs) Well, I don’t know about that.


CLINIC: You know? I guess I would just wait and cross that bridge when you come to it. You really can’t —

CALLER: It’s just my boyfriend doesn’t want anyone to know about all this.

CLINIC: Well, of course not because you’re awfully young, and he’s, you know, he’s of legal age and you’re not. So, yeah, I can see where that would be a BIG concern on his part.

CALLER: What do you mean?

CLINIC: He’s 22, and you’re not 18, and in most courts that’s considered statutory rape.

CALLER: Well, he’s not raping me. I mean, we’re in love. We’re going to get married. He said he was going to take care of me forever.

CLINIC: What’s that?

CALLER: He’s not raping me. I mean —

CLINIC: No, I understand that. I just — you know what? I wouldn’t worry about that right now.


CLINIC: Christine, what you need to be concerned about is yourself.


CLINIC: And getting yourself through this situation and don’t worry about any consequences to him at this point.

CALLER: But I don’t want to get him in — I don’t want him to get in trouble.

CLINIC: I don’t think that will happen.


CLINIC: I really don’t. I think this is all about you and you getting through this process, and that’s what we’re here to help you do. We’re not here to get anybody in trouble. We’re not here to do anything like that.

CALLER: All right.



CLINIC: That’s not our job.


CLINIC: Our job is to provide you with an abortion service.

CALLER: Oh, okay.


CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: Now, just wear regular underwear so that it accommodate a maxipad.


CLINIC: Okay? Our address — I want you to write this down —


CLINIC: Do you have a pencil there?


CLINIC: 512 First Avenue North, and you want access to our website?


CLINIC: Do you have access to the Internet?


CLINIC: Okay. It’s RedRiverWomensClinic.com. Now what highway are you going to be coming in on?

CALLER: I’m not really sure. My boyfriend would drive, but what would be the best way to get there do you think?

CLINIC: Well, would you be taking Highway 10 or 94?

CALLER: Probably 94.

CLINIC: Okay. If you’re coming in from 94, take the Morehead exit 1A. It’s also known as Highway 75 or Eighth Street. At the top of the exit ramp go right, and now you’re on Eighth Street and Morehead. You want to take that all the way north to First Avenue. Take a left on to First Avenue, continue west crossing the bridge into Fargo, and then First Avenue North turns into a one-way at that point when you enter Fargo.

CALLER: Oh, okay.

CLINIC: So get into the lefthand lane, and our clinic is at 512 First Avenue North, just beyond the local law firm. We’re also right across from a Gate City Federal Bank.

CALLER: Okay. Is it pretty easy to find?

CLINIC: Yeah. It is. Once you get on First Avenue you won’t have any trouble finding it as long as you’re on First Avenue North, okay? Not First Avenue South. And you can look up on our website too and there’s directions how to get there, more information about our clinic also. When you get to the clinic just continue up the street past the intersection, and down the street a bit there’s a public parking lot that charges $.50 an hour. It’s on the lefthand side of the road too, so if you stay on the lefthand side of the road you’re fine.

CALLER: And we’d be there like for five hours?

CLINIC: Four to five hours, right.


CLINIC: When you come back down to the clinic there might be a couple of protesters out front. No big deal. What they will typically do is just approach you and hand you a brochure and try to engage you in a conversation. A good thing for you to do would just be to completely ignore them, take the brochure if you want but just ignore them, and continue into our entryway. They won’t follow you in. We’ll ask your name over the intercom and buzz you up.

CALLER: Oh, okay.


CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: And hold on here. Okay.

CALLER: Well, did you say that I needed a lawyer to go to court or how would I get there?

CLINIC: You don’t need a lawyer to go to court. When you come here to the clinic, we’ll have you fill out some information. One of our counselors will take you over to see the judge and explain everything and take you in. You won’t have to do any of this by yourself.



CALLER: All right.

CLINIC: I need to get the names and addresses of your parents, not to tell them, just so that the judge — it’s required in your paperwork to see the judge to have that information there. But he is not going to divulge anything to your parents.

CALLER: Okay. Well, let me call you back with that. My friend’s mom is on her way. Hold on, all right?

CLINIC: Okay. Can I just read some information to you?

CALLER: Well, she — okay.

CLINIC: You think she’ll be suspicious if I just read some information to you? And you don’t have to say anything?

CALLER: Just real quick.

CLINIC: Why don’t you call me back when it’s more appropriate then? Because this will take at least two minutes to read the information.

CALLER: Okay. Well, it should be all right I think.

CLINIC: Okay. Okay. By law we’re required to give you the following —

CALLER: If I have to hang up I’ll call you back though.


CALLER: Okay. So go ahead.

CLINIC: By law we’re required to give you the following information at least 24 hours before you have an abortion. The name of the physician who will be performing your abortion is either Dr. Mix or Dr. McCurry. Counting from the first day of your last period you’ll be approximately I’m going to say 11 to 12 weeks pregnant. The risks associated with an abortion are rare. They include but are not limited to the following: an infection, a perforation, retained tissue, hemorrhage, a tear in the cervix, an adverse reaction to the local anesthetic, passing clots with cramps sometimes with a low-grade temperature, short-term hormone-related depression. Abortion does not affect your ability to have a normal pregnancy in the future. There are no increased risks of becoming sterile, infertile or having a tubal pregnancy from having an abortion. We’re going to give you more information about that when you come here, so if you have more questions about that you can certainly ask, okay?


CLINIC: In fact, (continuing reading), an abortion is many times safer than a full-term delivery if it is done in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. The state of North Dakota requires us to tell you that if you were to continue the pregnancy, medical assistance, benefits may be available to you for prenatal care, childbirth, and care after the delivery. They are also require us to tell you that if you were to continue the pregnancy your sexual partner is liable to pay child support even if he has offered to pay for the abortion. And we’re required to offer you information on agencies in North Dakota which provide alternatives to abortion and fetal development information. Do you want either one of these booklets mailed to you?


CLINIC: Okay. You’ll need to sign a statement when you come in that certifies we gave you this information at least 24 hours before your abortion.


CLINIC: And that’s all I had to read to you. So all you need to do is call me back this afternoon with the results of your PG test.

CALLER: Okay. Well, could I give you my boyfriend’s address instead of my parents’ address?

CLINIC: Yeah, you can do that. Well, no. No.

CALLER: Because he was going to get an apartment and —

CLINIC: Listen. You can’t give me that information right now because her mother is right there. But you need to give me the, when you call me back, you need to give me a number I can reach you at during the daytime.


CLINIC: Okay? And I also need your parents’ names and addresses in full. I’m not to send anything to them. It’s for the court forms so the judge is aware that you have parents. It’s nothing more than that.


CLINIC: Okay? It’s just going to stay on that piece of paper in your file.



CALLER: Okay. So I’ll call you after I get the pregnancy test.

CLINIC: Okay. That sounds good.


CLINIC: Thank you.

CALLER: Thanks.

CLINIC: Bye bye.


(phone clicks)


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