Abortion clinic fire: Wyoming authorities are searching for a suspect they believe set fire to an abortion clinic

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CNN

Local and federal authorities are looking for a suspect they believe intentionally set fire to an abortion clinic slated to open in Casper, Wyoming later this month.

The alleged fire took place in the early morning hours of May 25, according to a press release from the Casper Police Department.

Surveillance video from inside the Wellspring Health Access clinic shows the suspect, whose face is covered with a surgical mask most of the time, carrying a red gas canister. Police released the footage earlier this week.

When police responded to the company shortly after the suspect was filmed, they found a broken window and saw a fire, according to the police press release.

Authorities believe the suspect is a white woman and acted alone, according to the news release.

The Denver Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the suspect’s arrest, police said. Authorities are also working with the FBI, police said.

The clinic was supposed to open in mid-June, but the opening date has now been pushed back several months.

“We are still working with our contractors and our claims adjuster to determine the extent and cost of the damage. At this point, we anticipate that the opening of the clinic will be delayed by approximately six months,” Julie Burkhart, president and founder of Wellspring Health Access, told CNN on Friday.

“Despite these setbacks, we are undeterred in our mission to provide the people of Casper with access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion care,” Burkhart added.

Casper’s clinic is “strategically located so that people living in low-access areas such as western Nebraska, western South Dakota and southeastern Montana can more easily access health services” , according to the clinic’s website.

Casper, a city of nearly 60,000, is in the central part of the state.

When it opens, the clinic is expected to become the only clinic offering both medical and surgical abortions in the state of Wyoming, according to Wellspring Health Access.

Currently, the state’s only abortion provider, Women’s Health and Family Care in Jackson, Wyoming, only offers medical abortions for pregnancies less than 10 weeks old, the clinic said.

Wyoming is among a handful of other states that have passed “trigger laws,” which are bans designed to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is canceled. The 1973 court ruling upheld the right to have an abortion under the 14th Amendment, ruling abortions were constitutionally protected until approximately 23 weeks, when a fetus could live outside the womb.

Enacted earlier this yearthe wyoming bill added a provision that would make it illegal to perform an abortion if Roe is overturned, with extremely limited exceptions for cases of sexual assault, incest, or risk of death or serious injury to the person giving birth.

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