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A woman who burned Wyoming’s only full-service abortion clinic is ordered to pay $298,000

by Madison Thomas
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Abortion Clinic Arson Restitution

A woman who committed arson at Wyoming’s sole full-service abortion clinic has been ordered by a judge to pay restitution totaling $298,000, which is the full amount requested by the prosecutors.

Lorna Green, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence, set fire to Wellspring Health Access, the clinic located in Casper, just weeks before it was scheduled to open in 2022. The destructive fire severely damaged the building, which was undergoing renovations for the new clinic, resulting in a nearly year-long delay in its opening.

Following its eventual opening in April, Wellspring Health Access became the only abortion clinic in Wyoming, as another clinic in Jackson offering pill abortions had to close on December 15 due to rising operational costs.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson ruled that Green, aged 22, must pay approximately $298,000 in restitution. This includes $240,000 to Nationwide General Insurance Company, which is the clinic’s insurer. Additionally, Green is required to pay $33,500 to the building’s owner, Christine Lichtenfels, and $24,500 to Julie Burkhart, the founder and president of Wellspring Health Access. Burkhart expressed her satisfaction with the restitution, acknowledging the emotional and financial challenges the clinic had faced due to the arson.

The amounts ordered for restitution were in line with the prosecutors’ requests and were not opposed by Green’s attorney, Ryan Semerad. In a statement sent via email, Semerad mentioned that Green is looking forward to a productive and peaceful life after serving her prison term.

Green has expressed remorse for her actions, attributing them to anxiety and nightmares related to the clinic’s planned opening. Prior to the incident, there were no indications of her holding anti-abortion views on social media. However, during the investigation, she admitted to driving from Laramie to Casper, breaking into the clinic, and igniting gasoline she had poured on trays and the floor. After several months with little progress in the case, investigators raised the reward to $15,000, which led to tips that ultimately led to Green’s arrest in March.

Green pleaded guilty to arson in June and received the minimum prison sentence in September, even though she could have faced up to 20 years behind bars.

The arson and the subsequent opening of the clinic occurred at a time when new laws in Wyoming were being introduced to restrict abortion access in almost all cases. These laws, which included the nation’s first explicit ban on abortion pills, were temporarily halted by a judge following a lawsuit filed by four women and two non-profit organizations, including Wellspring Health Access. Wyoming District Judge Melissa Owens, after hearing arguments in the lawsuit on December 14, is now considering her decision, which is likely to be appealed, potentially bringing Wyoming’s abortion laws before the state Supreme Court.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Abortion Clinic Arson Restitution

Q: Why was Lorna Green ordered to pay $298,000 in restitution?

A: Lorna Green was ordered to pay $298,000 in restitution because she had set fire to Wyoming’s only full-service abortion clinic, causing significant damage and delaying its opening. This restitution covers the costs associated with the damage caused by the arson.

Q: What was the impact of the arson on the Wellspring Health Access clinic?

A: The arson at Wellspring Health Access clinic resulted in the gutting of the building, which was undergoing renovations for its opening. This caused a nearly year-long delay in the clinic’s opening, affecting its ability to provide essential healthcare services.

Q: Were there any specific reasons cited by Lorna Green for committing the arson?

A: Lorna Green expressed remorse for her actions, citing anxiety and nightmares related to the planned clinic as factors that drove her to commit the arson. She had no prior indications of holding anti-abortion views on social media.

Q: How did the legal proceedings against Lorna Green unfold?

A: Lorna Green pleaded guilty to arson and received the minimum prison sentence, despite facing a potential maximum of 20 years. The restitution amounts ordered by the judge were unopposed by her attorney. Green is currently serving a five-year prison term.

Q: What is the current status of abortion laws in Wyoming?

A: New laws in Wyoming aimed at restricting abortion access in nearly all cases have been temporarily halted following a lawsuit filed by four women and two non-profit organizations, including Wellspring Health Access. The lawsuit is under consideration by Wyoming District Judge Melissa Owens, and her decision is likely to be appealed, potentially reaching the state Supreme Court.

More about Abortion Clinic Arson Restitution

  • [Woman who set fire to Wyoming abortion clinic ordered to pay $298,000](Insert Link)
  • [Wellspring Health Access abortion clinic in Casper, Wyoming](Insert Link)
  • [Wyoming’s abortion laws face legal challenges](Insert Link)
  • [Legal proceedings against Lorna Green](Insert Link)

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