Auction for Access will raise money to support a woman’s right to choose

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Auction for Access

Temple Judah (3221 Lindsay Ln SE, Cedar Rapids) — Saturday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.

Sign supporting the right to chose at the Women’s March in Des Moines, Jan. 21, 2017 — photo by Mei-Ling Shaw

People will be able to support reproductive rights and have a good time at the Auction for Access in Cedar Rapids on Saturday. The auction is a fundraiser for Iowa Abortion Access Fund (IAAF), which has helped women seeking to exercise their right to choose cover the cost of clinic expenses since 1978.

“We were the first organization of our kind in the nation,” said IAAF board member Jessica Smith.

The Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit makes payments directly to clinics that partially cover costs incurred by women who would otherwise be unable to afford, or have great difficulty affording, services.

“There are more barriers to the right of choice than just the legal ones we see legislatures create,” Smith said. “There are also issues of proximity and income.”

Smith pointed to the law passed earlier this year requiring a 72-hour waiting period and the closure of four Planned Parenthood clinics in June, following former Gov. Branstad’s decision to block the group from Medicaid funds. (According to Planned Parenthood, those clinics served 14,676 patients between 2014 and 2017.)

“This means a lot of Iowans have to travel to larger cities to reach a clinic,” Smith said. “And because of the waiting period, they now have to choose whether to stay in those cities for the 72 hours or make a second trip. Either way, there are significant extra expenses. Every dollar we can take off clinic expenses can be used for other things, such as lodging or travel.”

The fundraiser will feature a live auction with a wide variety of items and services donated by local businesses. There will also be a silent auction featuring gift baskets, such as a coffee-themed basked donated by Wake Up Iowa.

Food and drink are included in the price of admission. Trumpet Blossom Café, Oasis Falafel, Maestro Empanadas and Local Crumb are donating food. Wild Culture Kombucha and 1st Avenue Wine House are providing the evening’s drinks, according to Smith.

“And a member of our board has brewed two kegs of craft beer especially for this event,” she added.

Tickets are $25 in advance and there is a sliding scale available for those who want to attend but can’t afford the full price. There are also reduced price tickets available for students.

“Every dollar we make will help people in Iowa have the ability to exercise their right to choose,” Smith said. “Attending this event is a way to take direct action against the recent anti-choice legislation in Iowa.”

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