An embattled abortion and transgender-related treatments clinic opened its doors in Casper on Thursday.
Wellspring Health Access was originally scheduled to open in June 2022, but was the target of an arsonist a few weeks prior, causing $290,000 worth of damage and delaying the clinic’s opening by months.
“We are delighted to finally be able to provide high quality reproductive health care, including abortion care, in the state of Wyoming,” said Julie Burkhart, president of Wellspring Health Access, in a press release. “It’s been a long journey filled with obstacles and challenges, but we at Wellspring Health Access refused to give up because we believe that Wyomingites deserve access to abortion care.
“After nearly a year of renovations and legal challenges to keep abortion legal in Wyoming, we are overjoyed to be able to see patients and provide this much-needed care.”
Wellspring, which according to the press release aims to “bring high quality reproductive health care to abortion deserts,” now becomes the second abortion provider in Wyoming, joining the Women's Health & Family Care Clinic in Jackson.
According to the press release, Wellspring is the first abortion clinic to open in a state with an abortion ban on the books that was triggered when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The fate of abortion in Wyoming is still in active litigation.
In March, Wellspring and five other plaintiffs successfully earned a temporary restraining order on a recently passed law making most forms of abortion illegal in Wyoming.
During the 2023 Legislature, a bill also was passed banning the use of drugs to facilitate chemically induced abortions in Wyoming, the first state to do so. Judicial District Court Melissa Owens’ temporary restraining order also applies to the chemical abortion bill.
Owens also placed a preliminary injunction on a similar abortion ban that went into effect in Wyoming in 2022.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022, South Dakota and Idaho have both outlawed abortion, making Wyoming the closest place to get an abortion for some people outside of the state.
In its Thursday afternoon press release announcing the opening of the facility, Wellspring referred to the person who’s alleged to have set fire to the building, shown in video surveillance pouring gas throughout the facility they illegally, acted as “an anti-abortion arsonist.”
Casper resident Lorna Green has been accused of committing the arson and has admitted to performing the crime, according to court documents. She was released on bond March 28.