VIDEO: Pro-Life, Pro-Choice Protest Outside of Women’s Health Clinic in Casper
Both proponents and opponents of abortion gathered outside of the Wellspring Health Access Clinic in Casper on Thursday afternoon, and while this has been and will remain a hot-button issue for years to come, both groups were respectful of each other while they made their personal feelings known.
In fact, they pretty much just ignored each other.
But that doesn't mean that they did not express themselves, both with signs and with their own words.
Signs emboldened with messages like 'They Who Hate God Love Death' and 'Abortion Kills Children' were held up by pro-choice proponents as they repeated various prayers at the direction of a priest holding a microphone.
On the other side, were signs that said 'Abortion is Health Care' and 'We Won't Go Back and We Won't Back Down.'
Neither side backed down on Wednesday, and numerous individuals spoke with K2 Radio News to express what they believed was the right side of the argument.
Jeanette Ward was one of those people.
Ward recently won the Wyoming Primary for the House District 57 seat in the Wyoming Legislature and she said that one of her main goals, should she win the seat, is to make sure that Wyoming 'remains a sanctuary for the unborn.'
Ward told K2 Radio News that she, her husband, and many others have been gathering outside the Wellspring Health Access Clinic for more than 8 weeks in a row.
"We've been here ever since we heard about the Abor-tuary that planned to open on June 1," she stated. "And I'm glad that it didn't open, but I don't condone setting fires in any way."
Ward was referencing the arson attempt at the clinic that occurred in late May of 2022. Police are still currently investigating the arson attempt and are offering a $5,000 reward to anybody with information that leads to the arrest of the suspect who attempted to burn the clinic down.
Though she doesn't condone attempted arson, Ward did celebrate the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, thus making abortion effectively legal in Wyoming and various other states.
"I was celebrating because the slaughter of the innocent that has been going on for almost 50 years was kicked back to the states," she said. "So it was a victory for the people who love life; pro-life people."
Other women were not as enthusiastic.
"I was heartbroken," said Riata Walker, a mother. "I was heartbroken and I was fearful of what that means for other women."
Walker said the she and her husband had to terminate a wanted pregnancy due to medical reasons, which absolutely crushed her.
"From that standpoint, I realized that this is absolutely a family's decision and a woman's decision," she said. "And if somebody's not willing or able to carry a pregnancy to term, the government doesn't have the right to force that woman to do so. That decision needs to be kept between a patient and their doctor. That's the only way it should be, and there should never be legislation limiting a person's choices when they find themselves in the most difficult circumstance."
When asked how other women might feel about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Ward, in turn, answered the question with a question of her own.
"Well, how does she feel about the tiny woman in the womb?" she asked. "That person doesn't get a choice."
Joining Ward on the side of 2nd Street was her husband Bill who, even as a man, he said he 'wasn't ignorant of the fact that every single one of us was born from a woman.'
"Life begins at conception," Bill said. "It's a biological fact and there another human being inside of the womb of a pregnant woman. That's a biological fact. It's something you have to deal with. It's an absolute fact. It's another human being. It's not the woman's body; it's another body. All biology says that."
Another pro-choice proponent, Liliana Urena, disagrees.
"I think that they believe that because it's very religion-based," she told K2 Radio News. "It's a Christian religion-based, specifically. And I am personally not Christian and it's like they're imposing their religious beliefs on everybody else. And believing that that should affect laws that affect peoples' lives, when abortion is often so much more than just not wanting a kid. Like, some people don't have the wherewithal to raise children, to love children."
Urena said that she was abused and neglected and mistreated as a child, asserting that some people just really shouldn't be parents.
"Adoption is not [always] a loving option because a lot of kids go into the foster care system and they don't ever get adopted," she said. "They are also mistreated, and they age out. It's not in line with what the real world actually is, which is very complex. There's almost 8 billion people on this planet. There's no way that their point of view should be imposed on billions of people who deserve their own choice."
Bill posits that choice is important, but that babies in the womb should get to have a choice as well.
"The truth is, it's not your body," he said. "It's another human being. That's the miracle of life. That's what we all know about. And we've all understood ever since we could have any kind of understanding that this is what life is all about."
Ward said that, if elected to the House seat, she will work to strengthen the trigger law regarding abortion in Wyoming.
"There shouldn't be any ambiguity," she stated. "We need to shore up some of the things that the radical judge in Jackson said were ambiguous about the law, so that there's no questions."
Ward also stated that she opposes the Wellspring Health Access Clinic not only because it provides abortions, but because it provides gender therapy services as well.
"Taken to the extreme, it's a mutilation of children's bodies," she stated. "So I oppose that. It's just like abortion. The biological fact is that life begins at conception. The biological fact is that you're either a male or a female. You either have XX or XY [chromosomes], with very few exceptions."
A friend of Ward's spoke up as well, offering her opinion about gender therapy.
"I've listened to many that have been transgender and gone through the therapy and now they're saying, 'I wish I would've stayed back to what I was, in my God-given sex."
Ward then spoke on behalf of teenagers and adolescents who may or may not have completed gender therapy.
"Most young people, given enough time, come to accept the biological reality of their body and grow to accept that and actually love and cherish it."
Bill agreed with his wife.
"You're never gonna be happy if you keep denying reality," he said. "And reality is, we're born male or female. That's it. It's just reality. You might not be happy with the way you look but, unfortunately, people were born. We might not be happy that we lose our hair at a certain point, but you do. It's a fact that you were born male or female, and you have to come to grips with that, however you have to do that."
Bill, standing side-by-side with his wife, professed his admiration for women and what they're able to do.
"Mothers give birth to new life," he said. "This is what women do. And just because I'm a man, I'm not ignorant of the fact that every single one of us was born from a woman. And we began in the womb of a woman; every one of us. How would we feel if our mothers had aborted us?"
When asked if there was any common ground that both sides come to, any point they could agree on, any grace they could extend to each other, both sides said...'Eh, not really.'
"I mean, to an extent, we're all here on the same street, confusing passers-by," Urena laughed. "But that's kind of the extent of it. That's kind of it for me."
"If you can't agree that begins at conception, there really is no common ground."
Photos of the protest can be seen below, along with a video interview with the subjects of this article:
Pro-Life, Pro-Choice Protest Outside of Women's Health Clinic in Casper