Activism

Denver Bands Celebrate Roe v. Wade With Girls Rock Denver

The co-founders of Keep Abortion Safe, Alex Ferencz and Fawn Bolak, tabling at the Black Womxn’s March in 2018.
The co-founders of Keep Abortion Safe, Alex Ferencz and Fawn Bolak, tabling at the Black Womxn’s March in 2018. Keep Abortion Safe
Fawn Bolak, the co-founder of Keep Abortion Safe, stumbled across Girls Rock Denver on Facebook, attended the group's Femmes to the Front concert, and knew she wanted to form a partnership.

The two organizations are now coming together to celebrate the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with Rockin' for Roe, with Denver bands ORYX, Rotten Reputation and Church Fire at 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 22, at the Larimer Lounge. All proceeds will benefit Keep Abortion Safe and the Women's Freedom Fund.

Bolak wanted a night of rock and roll and carefree fun — but, most important, a night to fund abortion. "The Women's Freedom Fund helps low-income folks who can't afford the cost of their abortion procedures, and they are able to subsidize some of those really expensive costs, which is phenomenal," she says. On the low end, an abortion costs around $500 but can cost as much as a few thousand dollars.

The work she does with Keep Abortion Safe helps destigmatize and reduce the shame that often surrounds abortion. The organization does this through digital storytelling, partnering with others in the community to spread awareness, attending protests and putting in work at the Capitol.

Colorado is known for being a safe state to access the procedure; individuals in neighboring states with more restrictive laws, like Utah and Kansas, often come here for an abortion.

There are some anti-choice advocates in Colorado; a bill was just introduced at the state legislature on January 14 to criminalize abortion. (Bolak notes that this happens every year, and it never passes.)

"The reasons why our state has continued to be good on abortion is because people are doing really hard work behind the scenes, and I think it's the energy from that that keeps me going," she says.

She fears Roe v. Wade could be overturned by the Supreme Court, which is why she's particularly excited to host a concert that will promote dialogue about the issue.

"In no other instance is a health-care procedure this stigmatized or this regulated," Bolak says. "It very disproportionately impacts women, very disproportionately impacts low-income women and low-income women of color."

Ferencz and Bolak at Woods Boss Brewing Company giving away clay vulva earrings and keychains that they make.
Keep Abortion Safe
For the members of Oryx, joining the lineup was an easy decision. "We see a drastic shift happening in our government, and we believe now, more than ever, is the time to support organizations that advocate for these services in our community," the band writes in a statement.

"I think art, and particularly music, is one of the most beautiful and effective vehicles for change," Bolak says. "That's why we love projects that center around the arts and connect new folks in the community."

Rockin' for Roe with ORYX, Rotten Reputation and Church Fire, 8 p.m., Tuesday, January 22, Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street, $10.
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Taylor Heussner has been writing for Westword since January 2018. She received her bachelor's degree in creative writing from Colorado State University and writes for myriad literary magazines. When she's not attending concerts, you can find Taylor searching for music, writing poetry or petting the neighborhood dogs.
Contact: Taylor Heussner