Feds: Woman charged in Wyoming clinic fire opposes abortion
Mar 23, 2023, 9:48 AM
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A woman accused of setting fire last year to a Wyoming abortion clinic that was under construction told investigators that she opposes abortion and was experiencing anxiety and nightmares over the facility opening, authorities say in court documents.
According to the court filing, 22-year-old Lorna Roxanne Green, of Casper, told Matthew T. Wright, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that she broke into the Wellspring Health Access clinic in Casper on May 25, poured gasoline around facility site and lit it.
The clinic had been scheduled to open last summer as the only facility of its kind in the state, offering women’s health care, family planning and gender-affirming health care in addition to abortion services. But the fire delayed those plans.
It was then slated to open next month but was thrown into doubt after Gov. Mark Gordon allowed a broad new abortion ban to take effect on Sunday without his signature. On Wednesday, Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens halted the ban after a hearing in which abortion-rights supporters said the law harms pregnant women and their doctors and violates the state constitution. Owens suspended the ban for at least two weeks.
Authorities say several tipsters identified Green as the suspect in response to a reward that was offered in the case.
Green made an initial appearance by video Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin in Cheyenne. She remains jailed in Wheatland, a town of 3,500 people about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Cheyenne, with no bond set yet.
Green said nothing in the 20-minute court appearance except “yes” and “no” in response to basic questions from Rankin.
Hanson reported from Helena, Montana. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.