Planned Women’s Health Clinic Provides Update on Abortion in Casper and Wyoming
On Friday, Wellspring Health Access hosted a Zoom call with reporters to answer a variety of questions and provide clarity on what abortion access looks like in Wyoming following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
On the call was Julie Burkhart, the founder of Wellspring Health Access, Reverend Leslie Kee and Cristina Gonzalez, Wellspring Health Access Community Advisory Committee Members, Sharon Breitweiser, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Wyoming, and Patrick Sweeney, a Wyoming House of Representatives for Natrona County.
On May 25, someone attempted to burn down the clinic and was seen leaving the area with a black bag and a gas can.
A $5,000 reward has been offered for anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts.
Breitweiser said that if people are pro-choice, then they should go out to protest and vote in Wyoming's August primary and in the November election.
"Ultimately there's only one real solution to this as far as I'm concerned. People need to not only march in protest, which is very important, but they need to get to the polls and vote for pro-choice and against anti-choice candidates," Breitweiser said. "We need to recruit pro-choice candidates and people need to run for office. People need to let their elected officials know that we do not condone their vote for the trigger legislation and other restrictions. Wyoming voters need to get to the polls on August 16 for our primary election and again on November 8, and take advantage of the flexible provisions for early and absentee voting and voter registration."
On July 9, there is a planned abortion protest in Casper, which will start at David Street Station, and go to the courthouse on Center Street.
Burkhart said that, due to the damage done by the suspected arson, they are hoping to open the clinic within the next four to six months.
"I can tell you all that, very optimistically, the clinic might be ready for patient care in four months," Burkhart said. "I think more realistically we are looking at six months. In the meantime, we will see how this trigger ban plays out in Wyoming. And so we will take this step by step. And we are still in the process of rehabbing the clinic, there was extensive damage, so we have to go through demolition, restoration, and then reconstruction."
Sweeney, one of the representatives who voted against Wyoming's trigger ban, said that he believes in the next session, the Wyoming legislature may try to remove the rape and incest exceptions for abortion.
"What I am concerned about in the next session because I can tell you that the house members really, we tried to get rape and incest added in the House, and thankfully Senator Case was able to convince and have enough votes so that it came back over to the House in the process for concurrences with rape and incest added, thankful, otherwise those would have been left out," Sweeney said. "But my biggest concern in this next session is making sure we leave that in, and I have a feeling that depending on what direction the House and the Senate goes after this election, who knows what might happen. That's my biggest concern at this point."