Protestors at the pro-choice march in July lined Main St. [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

The recently formed Moab Abortion and Reproductive Rights Network is holding its first fundraiser on Sunday, Nov. 13, hosting a movie night with chili bowls, a bake sale, and a silent auction at Star Hall at 7 p.m.

MARRN is the evolution of a group of Moab area locals galvanized by this summer’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that established the right to abortion. 

“When Roe V. Wade was overturned, many of us were distraught, angry, frustrated, and knew we needed to take action,” an email from the group says. “Being in Utah, access to reproductive care is already fraught with barriers, and we knew the supreme court decision was going to directly impact citizens of Utah and Moab.” 

In the weeks following the court’s decision, a group of Moabites organized a protest march where over 100 people gathered to carry signs and chant pro-choice slogans through Moab streets. [See “Moabites march in support of reproductive rights,” July 7 edition. -ed.] Organizers maintained communication and a core group started meeting regularly to discuss how they could best continue advocating for reproductive rights.

Gradually they developed a name, and a mission statement: to make reproductive rights, including abortion, accessible to all in Grand County through education, advocacy, compassion, and community building. 

“We believe that community building is one of the strongest tools we have,” said Faith Dickey, one of the administrators of the group. 

Faith Dickey during the pro-choice march in July. [Alison Harford/Moab Sun News]

That’s part of the point of this weekend’s fundraiser, she said. People interested in MARRN’s objectives can meet and talk about the issue. Dickey added that it’s not just for people who agree with each other: she hopes people with differing viewpoints will use the occasion to have conversations about abortion and reproductive rights. Those topics can be polarizing or taboo, she said, and more open conversations could help spread information and foster empathy. 

The movie, “Obvious Child,” is an R-rated comedy about an unexpected pregnancy starring comedian Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy. The movie is free, but baked goods and bowls of chili will be for sale. Local artists and businesses have donated to a silent auction—items include yoga passes, a massage, jewelry, tee-shirts, art and more. Proceeds will be donated to the Utah Abortion Fund, a nonprofit that provides direct resources to people who need abortions, as well as contraceptives and education. 

Dickey said that’s a central strategy of MARRN: to donate to effective reproductive rights organizations that already exist. They also hope to be a visible and approachable point of contact for locals seeking information, resources and support. In the future, MARRN members envision encouraging people to vote and supporting political platforms that align with their goals; hosting more fundraisers; and possibly arranging a panel discussion of experts to offer accurate information and promote frank discussion of reproductive health. Several MARRN participants are parents, and engaging with the school system is another idea the group has discussed. 

At the same time, Dickey said, “We’re definitely trying to pace ourselves.” 

The activists are learning as they go about how to host a fundraiser and the best strategies for promoting their mission. 

“It feels good to learn with a group of people who are all really motivated,” Dickey said. 

The group’s meetings are open, and happen roughly every three weeks. To learn more, visit the group’s Facebook page, Moab Abortion and Reproductive Rights Network, email, or attend the fundraiser on Nov. 13.