Protesters at Red River Women's Clinic complain about counterprotest
FARGO - Protesters outside North Dakota's only abortion clinic are clashing. This week, two opposing sides say things are escalating. Almost every day for the past week, Nik Severson has been counter-protesting the protesters at the Red River Wom...
FARGO - Protesters outside North Dakota's only abortion clinic are clashing. This week, two opposing sides say things are escalating.
Almost every day for the past week, Nik Severson has been counter-protesting the protesters at the Red River Women's Clinic. Now, both groups say the other is crossing the line.
We first met Severson covering a story at the clinic last week. Amid the pro-life group, Severson was the lone dissenting voice.
"I feel like someone needs to have a voice for the women," Severson said.
That day, one protester sent WDAY a video saying Severson's comments were making the group feel uneasy. He maintains his sign displaying the message "Hail Satan" is sarcastic and he hasn't made any threats. He says he's simply giving the group a taste of the discomfort they give the clinic's patients.
"It's a hard decision for these women to make this decision. And they don't need any more hateful messages. There's pictures of dead baby fetuses out here and it's just a circus out here," Severson said.
Protesters say he's antagonizing them, without listening to their response.
"He just wouldn't engage. He just kept saying we're oppressive white men who want to control women's lives and stuff. I don't want that. I just want protection of the innocent," Bartholomew Schumacher said.
Aside from their fundamental disagreements, Severson says the protesters are taking things too far.
"I've had things shoved in my face, people walk in front of m... Now, I've had death threats. I've had people bring dogs out here and say the dog's going to bite me," Severson said.
Severson says protesters called the police on him more than five times, but officers haven't taken any formal complaints at the clinic in the past week.
The disagreeing groups say they don't plan to budge from their opinions.
"Because I stand for life," Schumacher said.
"I do the same thing that they're doing to these ladies," Severson said.
Police say none of this past week's confrontations have given them reason to expect violence. Neither group wants to file a formal complaint right now.