Back from last year, the Super Uterus is ready to fly in circles around the Compass and sell shirts and underwear with her Super Uterus logo, all to promote the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project.
The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, also known as the RRFP, is a nonprofit organization in Richmond that aims to provide financial aid to women in Virginia who are in need of an abortion. The RRFP started in Richmond 10 years ago and joined the National Network of Abortion Funds in 2004.
Richmond has several chapters of RRFP and each chapter has one main goal: to raise as much money as they can in order to help women afford the abortions and care they may need. The chapters in Virginia have even made a competition out of the fundraising.
Gsexxxy, the VCU chapter, aims to raise about $50,000. Safiya Bridgewater, one of RRFP’s organizers, said since winning the fundraising competition last year, she hopes to do it again this year.
“We took home the trophy last year,” Bridgewater said. “(We) plan to take it home again.”
Now in their 10th year, the RRFP has raised about $20,000 since its start but is always looking for ways to raise more funds.
This support is important because there are many barriers that can prevent women from getting an abortion.
In Virginia, women seeking an abortion must receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before having the abortion. Women must also have an ultrasound before having an abortion, and the provider must give the woman the option to see the ultrasound image. Public funding and health care plans will only cover abortions in which the woman’s life is endangered, there has been a rape or incest or if the fetus is impaired in some way.
For Bridgewater, not having access to abortions or other types of women’s clinics was common in the area where she grew up.
“I grew up in a rural area, and there was not an abortion clinic close to where I lived. The only place that was close to my area was a pregnancy clinic that manipulated girls to keep the babies,” Bridgewater said. “When I moved to Richmond for school and found out about RRFP, I was so excited to start working for them.”
RRFP is not an abortion clinic, simply a fund for women who need abortions and are unable to pay for it themselves. In one letter sent to the RRFP, the woman says that she was in an abusive relationship and ended up becoming pregnant. “I couldn’t afford the cost of an abortion and that’s when I decided to call for help and try to get abortion funding. … Not only did they help me with funding but gave me a sympathetic ear.”
In Richmond, abortions cost an average of $400 but can cost as much as $600 for abortions in the 13th week.
To raise money for the organization, RRFP asks for donations, usually between $5 and $10. They also sell merchandise like T-shirts, bags and even underwear in the Compass to help the cause. Every year, the group chooses a controversial slang word for vagina to print on their items.
The RRFP also raises money throughout the year for the bowl-a-thon, a fundraiser that aims to raise awareness about the financial barriers of abortion. Last year, Gsexxxy raised $43,000 at their bowl-a-thon.
The RRFP and their flying Super Uterus will be in the Compass next week to sell their merchandise and accept donations.
If you have any questions about how to get involved, donate or purchase merchandise; you can contact RRFP through its Facebook page, Tumblr or visit its website at www.rrfp.net.