Casper, Wyo. — An overnight fire in Wyoming on Wednesday damaged a building being renovated to house a new abortion clinic in the conservative state where anti-abortion opposition is rampant.
No one was injured in the fire in Casper, Wyoming’s second largest city, said Julie Burkhart, the clinic’s director, adding that the clinic’s organizers had received harassing emails and phone messages
Casper police spokeswoman Rebekah Ladd did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking information about the fire, and her agency had not released any information Wednesday morning about what caused the fire.
The clinic, which should also offer other women’s health services, was set to open in June, becoming only the second facility in the state to offer abortions. Wyoming’s only abortion site for women is currently a hospital in Jackson, 452 kilometers away.
Anti-abortion protests took place at the future clinic site earlier this spring, and anti-abortion signs were visible in a window of an apartment next to the building on Wednesday.
Wyoming is one of 13 countries that would ban abortion if the Roe v Wade decision, which legalizes abortion nationwide, is overturned by the US Supreme Court. A leaked draft judgment suggests this will happen soon.
The new Wyoming clinic was founded by Burkhart, a former associate of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was shot dead in a church in Wichita, Kansas, in 2009.
Police blocked the street where the small building is located while officers investigated. Most of the building’s windows were broken and smoke damage could be seen around a broken window.
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https://www.local10.com/health/2022/05/25/fire-damages-wyoming-abortion-clinic-ahead-of-june-opening/ Fire damages abortion clinic in Wyoming before opening in June