The organizers of a Wyoming women's clinic opened in summer 2013. They were optimistic about the plans, even though they knew that they would be challenged by opponents.
The expected protests and harassing messages were there. After a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling was leaked, things got even more tense. If finalized, it would likely make abortion illegal in Wyoming and the other half of the United States.
Their building was then damaged by a fire that police believe was intentionally set.
It has not affected plans to open the clinic, which is rare in heavily Republican areas of the United States. Most abortion providers are fighting to keep their businesses afloat and expand their services.
Julie Burkhart, clinic founder, stated that she was not going to be forced into submission as she watched the Casper firefighters and police investigate the fire.
Wyoming was known for its live-and-let–live Western conservatism. This meant Wyoming had a very hands-off approach when it came to setting social policies in government, including abortion. That's changing, however.
Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill in March that placed Wyoming among the states that would outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Republican Mark Gordon signed a bill to make Wyoming one of the states that would ban abortion if the Supreme Court reverses 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which made abortion legal across the country. Only exceptions to this rule would be in the case of rape and incest to save the mother's health or to protect her from serious, non-mental problems.
Gordon, who is running for reelection in 2018, has not made abortion and other cultural war issues a part of his campaigns or during his time in office. However, Wyoming's recent rightward shift in the Supreme Court and State Legislature has made abortion a major issue.
This trend is resisted by the planned clinic.
Riata Little Walker, a Casper resident, is one of its backers. She recently spoke at a rally to support the clinic. Little Walker said that she was pro-life up until two years ago. However, five months into her first pregnancy, doctors advised her to have an abortion because of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal heart defects.
Little Walker stated that she might have faced a miscarriage if she had not been able get an abortion at Colorado's hospital.
Little Walker stated that not all babies born to an abortion are unwelcome. This should be readily available to people whenever they need it, even though they want their baby. Parents have to make the most difficult decision they can.
Casper is Wyoming's second largest city, with 58,000 residents, and her opinion is not shared by the majority.
Casper is known as "Oil City" and has been a major hub for oil drilling, cattle ranching and uranium mining. It also hosts wind energy and uranium mining. The city is located at the base Casper Mountain and has a skyline that is dominated by a concrete spire of 180 feet (54 meters) built in 1960s.