Wyoming Abortion Clinic Arsonist Ordered to Pay $300K on Top of 5-Year Prison Sentence

22-year-old Lorna Green agreed to pay "to atone for her actions.” But the building owner says it doesn't even cover the full cost of damages to the building.

Wyoming Abortion Clinic Arsonist Ordered to Pay $300K on Top of 5-Year Prison Sentence
From left: Lorna Green’s booking photo; the Wellspring clinic Photo:AP

A federal judge has ordered the 22-year-old Wyoming woman who pleaded guilty to setting fire to an abortion clinic in 2022 to pay nearly $300,000 in damages, on top of the five-year prison sentence she’s currently serving. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson determined that Lorna Green, who was sentenced in September, must pay over $240,000 to the clinic’s insurance company, more than $33,000 to the building owner, and more than $24,500 to the president of the clinic, according to the New York Times.

Green’s attorney told the Times that she will repay the damages “as part of her efforts to atone for her actions.” But Christine Lichtenfels, the owner of the building, told the outlet that, while she’s glad to receive some money, the damages Green has been ordered to pay don’t cover the full costs of the damage done to the clinic. “This is criminal, and there are consequences to pay,” Lichtenfels said. “We need to respect individuals and respect women, and stop trying to tell people what to do within their own lives.”

In May 2022, Green drove 150 miles to set the Wellspring reproductive health clinic on fire shortly before it was set to open to the public as the only full-service abortion clinic in the state. Eventually, Green was identified by surveillance footage. Earlier this year, she told the FBI that she opposes abortion and had “nightmares” about people having abortions at the clinic, prompting her to torch it.

Green was arrested for the crime in March and pleaded guilty in July. She faced up to 20 years in prison and was sentenced to five—the mandatory minimum—after Johnson shared details from pre-sentencing reports about Green’s past experiences with emotional and physical abuse from her parents. At her September sentencing hearing, Johnson told Green, “You are entitled to your opinions, whatever they may be, but those opinions do not justify in any respect the terror that was caused.”

The Wellspring clinic eventually opened in April this year after its planned opening in the summer of 2022 was delayed by the fire. An abortion ban in the state is currently blocked in court from taking effect. Last year, when law enforcement shared the first photos and videos of Green, Wellspring Health Access founder Julie Burkhart said she was “slightly surprised” the suspect didn’t appear to be a man. (The bulk of anti-abortion violence against clinics is, indeed, perpetrated by men—but women in the anti-abortion movement commit plenty of horrific acts often enough, too.) Burkhart formerly worked for Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was assassinated by an anti-abortion activist in 2009.

Green’s attack on the Wyoming clinic comes amid a rising tide of violence targeting abortion clinics across the country. In the last 50 years, clinics have reported at least 11 murders and 26 attempted murders of abortion providers, 42 bombings of clinics and abortion providers’ homes, and nearly 200 incidents of arson. From 2019 to 2020 alone, reported incidents of physical violence targeting abortion providers rose by 125%.

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