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Published November 08, 2010, 10:36 AM

Fargo Abortion Clinic Doctor Subject of Probe

Fargo authorities are investigating whether a doctor with an expired medical license performed abortions at North Dakota's only abortion clinic.

By: Associated Press,

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Fargo authorities are investigating whether a doctor with an expired medical license performed abortions at North Dakota's only abortion clinic.

The clinic director calls the matter an "administrative oversight," and the head of North Dakota's doctor licensing board says he can't recall a case in which a lapsed medical license led to criminal charges.

The doctor has active medical licenses in her resident state of Colorado and in South Dakota, but her North Dakota license expired June 30, The Forum reports.

Fargo police received more than two dozen calls from the public once that became known. Police Sgt. Mark Lykken said the calls might have stemmed from a chain e-mail circulating to abortion protesters.

Police Chief Keith Ternes declined to say whether investigators determined if the doctor performed abortions at the Red River Women's Clinic after her license expired.

"We're ready to forward our report to the state's attorney's office for review," he said.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick said he has not dealt previously with possible criminal sanctions involving a medical license but has encountered the issue with nurses whose licenses had expired. In those cases, he said, warning letters were issued and no charges resulted.

Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker would not say whether the doctor performed abortions after her license expired. She said the clinic cooperated with the police investigation and that the doctor is working with the licensing board on a renewal.

"This is a paperwork matter and not a reflection of her abilities or competency as a physician," Kromenaker said. "She has never had a black mark on her record."

Duane Houdek, executive secretary of the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners, said the penalty for late license renewals is to pay triple the normal fee.

"From our point of view, a lapsed license is typically something that is taken care of administratively," he said.

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