Casper Abortion Clinic Opens as Wyoming’s Anti-Abortion Laws Hang in the Balance
First clinic in state to offer surgical abortions in 20 years
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Apr 21, 2023
Despite pending legal battles to determine the legality of abortion in Wyoming, the Wellspring Health Access clinic opened Thursday, becoming the first clinic to perform surgical abortions in the state in two decades. (Courtesy photo from Wellspring Health Access)
By Jennifer Kocher
Special to the Wyoming Truth
Wellspring Health Access in Casper formally opened its doors on Thursday, becoming the first clinic in the state in 20 years to offer surgical abortions, along with family planning and gynecological services.
The clinic’s opening follows the March arrest of Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, for allegedly setting fire to the clinic last May and causing $290,000 worth of damage. The clinic had been scheduled to open in June 2022.
“We are delighted to finally be able to provide high quality reproductive health care, including abortion care, in the state of Wyoming,” Julie Burkhart, president of Wellspring Health Access, said in a written statement. “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.”
The long-term fate of Wellspring Health Access is uncertain pending the legal battle surrounding abortion in Wyoming. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the legality of abortion to the states, the Wyoming Legislature enacted two abortion laws that banned most abortions in the state.
Before these laws took effect, a coalition of Wyoming residents, doctors and abortion rights proponents filed a lawsuit challenging the laws; in March, a Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens granted a temporary restraining order that kept abortion legal.
Previously, the same group had challenged a similar anti-abortion law bill passed in 2022 that made most abortions a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison with Owens granting a preliminary injunction.
The crux of the legal battle hinges on whether or not the Wyoming constitution offers citizens a fundamental right to make their own health care decisions. Many experts expect that the decision will rest with the Wyoming Supreme Court, with a telephone conference discussing next steps scheduled for Aug. 24.