Protest Held in Front of Planned Casper Abortion Clinic
On Thursday, a group of around 120 people held a protest in front of a building that may soon be the site of the only abortion clinic in Casper.
The people there weren't under the umbrella of any specific group, with several people there from their church or other religious organization.
Mike Pyatt, with Liberty Place 4 U, said he would have liked to speak to the president of the clinic, hoping they'd reconsider.
"That these people won't go away and...with the end outcome, that they'll leave just like Planned Parenthood did in 2017," Pyatt said. "Planned Parenthood was here 40 years. And they finally had to close the doors, no business."
Leslie Kee, a member of Circle of Hope, who's the group funding for the clinic, said Planned Parenthood shutting down was detrimental to the community, and they hope to provide sex education that is more than promoting abstinence.
"They're gonna pray for us and we're going to pray for them," Kee said. "This clinic, it's not illegal, it's just that in a small town, it's really difficult, if you're a business owner, or if you have an interest, people want to come and boycott you, they can shut your business down. They're very proud of shutting down Planned Parenthood, they brag about that. Now we have no Planned Parenthood and no health curriculum in the schools. We have daycare centers. Part of this clinic is going to be prevention. We are going to put together a coalition of supporters, and we're gonna work to make an answer to the ridiculously failed policy of abstinence-only."
While the main reason for the protests was because of abortion, the clinic will also be providing contraceptives and family planning, which some of the people at the protest said they didn't have an issue with, and the clinic will provide gender-affirming care for trans individuals and sex education.
John Brodrecht, who was there to protest the clinic, said that they don't like the clinic opening because of the ideology it promotes and the that they will continue to peacefully protest.
"We're just concerned citizens, especially someone from out of state, pushing their ideology on Wyoming," Brodrecht said. "We'll see more of this, and I think it's very obvious, we're not out here to raise hell, we're out here to peacefully pray that no murders will happen, whether it be you or me or an unborn baby. That's exactly what we are."
Chappy Cheever, who was holding a sign that said pray, said when asked if there are more people in town on their side, he wasn't sure.
"We're just not sure. Like I said if we can reach one person, then hallelujah to that. And if there are more people who are for abortion, then so be it. That's their choice. But we want to at least let them know, get them educated that there is a different way, there's not just abortion. If that's still what they want, then that's still what they do, give them a choice, everybody's got to have a choice. And sooner or later, you've to answer for that choice."
Jane Ifland, who is a part of Circle of Hope, said it's important for people to be able to have control over their own bodies, especially because abortion only affects the individual.
"I'm here because it's really important to me to make it clear if you can't control your own body, you can't really call yourself a free person," Ifland said. "I think it's the core of American values, the individual personal liberty. And I would make a distinction between the rights of the individual and the responsibilities of the individual. This is a place where there's confusion between the rights and responsibilities of the individual. Nothing about an abortion affects the community. It affects the individual person."