Woman Who Burned Abortion Clinic Gets Minimum Sentence

Lorna Roxanne Green delayed opening of Wyoming clinic by almost a year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2023 5:45 PM CDT
Updated Sep 29, 2023 12:26 PM CDT
Abortion Provider Opens After Arson
The fire-damaged Wellspring Health Access clinic is cordoned by tape on May 25, 2022, in Casper, Wyoming.   (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File)
UPDATE Sep 29, 2023 12:26 PM CDT

A woman who burned what was to be Wyoming's first full-service abortion clinic in at least a decade was sentenced to five years in prison for the crime on Thursday. Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, also will have to pay restitution that is yet to be determined but will be "well over $280,000," US District Judge Alan Johnson said. Green could have faced a maximum of 20 years for the 2022 arson at Wellspring Health Access in Casper, which delayed the clinic's opening by almost a year, the AP reports. The judge cited emotional and physical abuse by Green's parents in giving her the minimum sentence.

Apr 20, 2023 5:45 PM CDT

Wyoming's first full-service abortion provider in years defiantly opened Thursday, nearly a year after an arson attack ravaged it and despite looming laws that could shut it down with some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the US. The clinic in a small stucco building on a busy street in downtown Casper is less than a mile from Interstate 25, where the occasional anti-abortion billboard stands against the open, sparsely populated landscape. Last May, a few weeks before the clinic was set to open, a fire tore through building, leaving soot-stained, smashed windows and police tape to mark the clinic site. A woman who has since been arrested had broken a window, filled aluminum pans with gasoline, and set them ablaze, authorities say. She told told investigators that she opposes abortion and was experiencing anxiety over the facility opening, the AP reports.

With its fire damage repaired, the Wellspring Health Access clinic will be able to provide both abortion-pill and surgical abortions—at least for now. The US Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday on one of two drugs used in pill abortions. Wyoming last month became the first state to pass an explicit ban on abortion pills, which have become the predominant choice for abortions in the US in recent years. Until now, only one other clinic in Wyoming—a women's health center in Jackson, some 250 miles away—has provided medication abortions. Surgical abortions haven't been available in a dedicated Wyoming clinic in at least a decade, according to Wellspring.

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Still, access never fully ended. There were at least 88 medication abortions reported by state medical professionals in 2020, and 98 medication abortions were reported in 2021, according to the most recent data from the Wyoming Department of Health. Still, that's not the whole picture of abortion in Wyoming. Hundreds of women travel each year to Colorado and other states for abortions, and the numbers don't include medication abortions conducted at home without medical supervision. Wellspring Health Access will begin taking appointments for services not widely available to Wyoming women in years, per the AP. The clinic opened immediately after receiving a city occupancy permit.

(More abortion stories.)

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