Cedar Rapids Access Poster Show
Raygun, 1028 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids — Friday, May 25 at 5:00 p.m.
Art will be a medium for activism at the Cedar Rapids Access Poster Show on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Hosted by Raygun at its Cedar Rapids store in the NewBo District, proceeds from the event will benefit the Iowa Abortion Access Fund (IAAF).
Friday’s poster show will feature 10 original pieces by 10 artists that were submitted and voted for online. Posters and postcard packs are both $10, and will be available for purchase online after the show, according to the event’s Facebook page.
This fundraiser comes at an increasingly contentious time for reproductive rights in Iowa. In June 2017, four Planned Parenthood clinics closed after former Gov. Terry Branstad’s decision to block Medicaid funds. Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven later acknowledged problems with the replacement family planning program. Most notably, the Iowa legislature made international headlines earlier this month by approving the so-called “fetal heartbeat law.” Prohibiting most abortions after six weeks gestation, it is the strictest abortion ban in the U.S.
Founded in 1978, IAAF assists in paying for abortions for Iowans and for residents of Illinois living in the Quad Cities. IAAF board member Jessica Smith said funds from the poster show are especially needed in light of the fetal heartbeat law. Because the law shortens the time frame for patients to obtain an abortion, those seeking the already-expensive procedure will be put at a greater financial strain if it goes into effect.
“Most people are finding out at four or five weeks along, and so that’s giving you one or two weeks to get approximately $600 together if you’re not already over that six-week mark,” Smith said. “[Abortion access funds] can pay for partial amounts of the clinic costs, getting people closer to their financial goals quicker…The clock is really ticking.”
Smith explained donations to pro-choice organizations aid different components of the fight for reproductive rights.
“If you want to support the legal battle, you can donate to Planned Parenthood. If you want to support people who need an abortion now and might be affected by this heartbeat law, then you should support the Iowa Abortion Access Fund. And if you want to support feminist-run local clinics, you should support the Emma Goldman Clinic,” she said.
Event host Raygun regularly gives back to Midwest communities, dedicating one to three percent of its gross sales to outside organizations. They have helped raise over $50,000 for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood Great Plains, according to their website. One of the shop’s pro-choice t-shirts made a statement on the Iowa legislative floor during the fetal heartbeat debate earlier this month. The House’s video feed hid Rep. Amy Nielsen’s Raygun t-shirt that said, “The GOP: Creating Government Small Enough To Fit Inside Your Vagina.”
— Amy Nielsen (@RepAmyNielsen) May 2, 2018
“This poster show and any fundraiser supporting abortion access funds are more important than ever…it is a really scary time, and the Iowa Abortion Access Fund is a good place to start if you’re wanting to help,” Smith said.