Wyoming's Only Abortion Clinic Was Set On Fire, Suspect Is Still At Large

·2 min read
The fire-damaged Wellspring Health Access clinic in Casper, Wyo., is seen Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
The fire-damaged Wellspring Health Access clinic in Casper, Wyo., is seen Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Police are searching for a suspect who set fire to Wyoming’s only abortion clinic. In a newly released video by Casper police, a masked white woman in a hooded shirt can be seen inside the Wellspring Health Access Clinic just before it was torched on May 25. On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives offered $5,000 reward for tips leading to her arrest.

In the 30-second video, the suspect is apparently holding a red can of fuel. According to a Facebook post by authorities Tuesday, they are looking for a white woman with a medium build who is around 5 feet, 7 inches tall. They believe she acted alone.

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When firefighters arrived at the clinic on the morning of the fire, they discovered a broken window and smoke coming out of the building. According to a call they received, a bystander phoned police saying that they heard the breaking of glass and witnessed someone leaving the building holding a black bag and gas can.

Casper police said they were able to quickly put out the fire and that the suspect was in the clinic for around 15 minutes. It was supposed to open in the middle of June as the sole abortion clinic in the state.

In a statement released Wednesday by organizers, the building was being renovated and the blaze set back its opening by about six months. “Despite these setbacks, we are undeterred in our mission to give the people of Casper access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion care,” Wellspring Health Access Clinic founder Julie Burkhart said.

In May, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court revealed plans to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case that made abortion legal in the states. Wyoming is one of thirteen states that would nearly ban or ban abortion altogether if this happens.