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Arson suspect caught on camera setting fire to Wyoming's only abortion clinic

Julie Burkhart, founder of the Wellspring Health Access clinic, said the damage will put back the clinic's opening by several weeks or months.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

Authorities have released a video of the suspect involved in setting multiple fires to a Casper, Wyoming abortion clinic in late May.

The Wellspring Health Access clinic, which is still under construction, has been at the center of anti-abortion protests since the plans for its opening were announced, which will be the first facility to offer abortions in the cowboy state past 10 weeks.

The Casper Police Department released video of the incident on Wednesday asking the public's help in identifying the suspect.

The video shows a white female suspect, dressed in a black hoodie and blue jeans, carrying a red fuel canister inside the Wellspring Health Access clinic.

Before allegedly setting multiple fires throughout the clinic, the suspect struggled to open the fuel canister and pulled down her mask, where surveillance videos were able to capture a clearer picture of her face.

(Casper Police Department)
(Casper Police Department)

According to the Casper Police Department, at 3:49 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25th, 2022, Casper police officers responded to a business building located in the 900 block of East 2nd Street in Casper for a report of a business burglary.

Officers located a broken window on the north side of the business building and observed smoke coming from the northeast corner of the building. Officers requested support from Casper Fire-EMS who responded to the scene.

The fire, which was found to be located in the west side of the building, was quickly extinguished.

Investigators identified several areas within the building where an accelerant was used. Surveillance footage from the area is continuing to be reviewed as part of the investigation, police documents state.

A $5,000 reward was also offered by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Julie Burkhart, founder of the Wellspring Health Access clinic, said the damage will put back the clinic's opening by several weeks or months, New York Post reports.

"While this act of destruction is profoundly upsetting and presents new challenges, we remain unwavering in our commitment to ensuring that the people of Casper can access the reproductive health care they need," Burkhart said.

"When the needed repairs have been completed, we will open our clinic with the goal of providing the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including OB-GYN care, family planning, gender-affirming care and abortion care," she added.

In the state of Wyoming, there is currently only one doctor's office that offers an abortion pill up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The Wellspring Health Access clinic would be the first of its kind in the state. Wyoming is also among the many conservative states with "trigger-laws," meaning that if SCOTUS overturns abortion landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, the state would outlaw abortion with a few exceptions.

"We will fight tooth and nail to protect this fundamental right for the people of Wyoming regardless of what the Supreme Court does this summer," Burkhart said in a Facebook post last month.

She continued on to state, "women and all people must be allowed to make decisions about their bodies, their families and their health without interference from politicians."

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