FARGO - A video posted online by Planned Parenthood shows police turning away two of the group's supporters as they try to deliver a petition to the Fargo office of U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, who called the video "staged."
The video was shot Friday, March 24, during a protest outside Cramer's office. It starts with Amy Jacobson of Planned Parenthood saying she and Danni Pinnick are at the office to submit the petition signed by over 800 North Dakotans in support of the group.
Three Fargo police officers stopped the two women as they approached the entrance of the office building at 3217 Fiechtner Drive. The officers said the building is private property and that the owners didn't want any protesters inside.
"We can't deliver our petition then?" Jacobson asked.
"We'll give it to them if you want us to do that. But they don't want any of the demonstrators on the property," one officer replied.
Jacobson told police she would mail the petition instead.
Jacobson saud her group tried to make an appointment with Cramer's office. However, Cramer said no appointment was ever made. He said his office was closed at the time.
As evidence that the video was staged, Cramer said a building owner told him that before the video was made, several of the protesters were in the building. They could have dropped off the petition then, the congressman said.
Jacobson said the video was not staged, adding that she had not been in the building before the footage was shot.
Kylie Oversen, chair of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, released the following statement on the police blocking protesters from dropping off the petition:
"Kevin Cramer likes to talk about how open and available he is, but when his constituents want to peacefully make their voices heard, the cops are called. Actions speak louder than words. It's clear Kevin Cramer is too scared of a bunch of women wearing pink to even talk to them. Maybe next time they should wear white to get a response from him."
Oversen was referring to Cramer's controversial criticism of Democratic congresswomen who wore white to honor the suffragette movement at President Donald Trump's joint address.
Cramer said in response, "That's cute. Kylie is so successful in politics, and this is obviously why."
Oversen represented a Grand Forks area district in the North Dakota House for one term before losing her bid for re-election in November.
Cramer said he'd be happy to meet with the protesters. He said "they don't scare me," noting that he attended the Jan. 21 Women's March in Washington where many wore pink hats "to depict women's private parts."
About 40 people attended the Friday protest, some holding pink signs and wearing pink hats. Five anti-abortion protesters also showed up and called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood advocates say that under Trump's health care proposal, low-income women on Medicaid would not be able to receive medical services from the group.