Clinic business

Abortion clinic burned down before opening, WY cops say

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An abortion clinic was set on fire May 25, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming, police said. The clinic was scheduled to open next month and would be the only place to offer surgical abortions in the state.

Screenshot of Google Maps

An abortion clinic that will offer the state’s only surgical abortions has been set on fire, police said.

Firefighters were called to a small fire at approximately 3:53 a.m. Wednesday, May 25 at the Wellspring Health Access Clinic, Casper Fire-EMS and Casper Police Department said.

The flames were quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported, firefighters said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, firefighters said.

A person carrying a petrol can and a black bag was seen running from the fire, police said. The fire was intentional.

Police review surveillance footage.

The Wellspring Health Access was due to open next month, the Casper Star Tribune reported. It would be the only clinic in the state to offer surgical abortions, which would allow women to have abortions later in their pregnancy.

“It was intentional,” company founder Julie Burkhart told the news outlet at the scene of the fire.

The clinic was to open in Casper and would also provide abortion services to people living in “low-access states” such as Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana.

There’s another abortion clinic in the state in Jackson but he only offers medical abortion. This form of abortion allows women to take a pill to terminate their pregnancy for up to 10 weeks.

Wyoming residents must drive to Fort Collins, Colorado, or Billings, Montana, for nearby surgical abortions.

This story was originally published May 25, 2022 1:21 p.m.

Helena Wegner is a McClatchy Live National Reporter covering Washington State and the Western Region. She holds a journalism degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is based in Phoenix.