As the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade and dramatically decrease access to abortions across the country, the romance book world is fighting back. The Romance for Reproductive Justice auction is offering over 200 packages, including signed/annotated romance novels, author chats, manuscript queries, swag, and more in exchange for donations to National Network of Abortion Funds’ Collective Power Fund. The auction starts on May 21 and runs through May 23.
In early May, Politico leaked an initial draft of a U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision, which guarantees a constitutional right to abortion. Although the opinion isn’t final and abortion is still legal in the U.S., abortion rights activists are preparing for sweeping limits to reproductive freedom across the country. If Roe is overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortions according to the Guttmacher Institute. With little recourse for fighting the coming SCOTUS decision, pro-choice activists are looking for ways to increase access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is indeed overturned.
Meet Cute Romance Starts an Auction
That’s where the Romance for Reproductive Justice auction comes in. Meet Cute Romance Bookshop & Fizzery, a new romance-focused bookstore in La Mesa, California, jumped into action following the leaked SCOTUS documents.
“There was, very clearly visible on social media, a lot of anger in the romance community in the wake of the leaked Alito draft,” said Becca Title, founder of Meet Cute Romance Bookshop & Fizzery, in an interview with Book Riot. “Organizing this auction was a way for me to channel my own anger into something productive, and I have heard from a lot of our donors that the ability to donate gave them a similar outlet.”
Auction winners will be directed to donate to National Network of Abortion Funds’ Collective Power Fund, a group that fundraises and redistributes money directly to 28 member abortion funds across 20 states. These donations support abortion costs, transportation to clinics, childcare, lodging, and abortion doula support through member funds concentrated in areas where abortions are hardest to access.
Becca Title argued that the romance community has a distinct connection to reproductive justice: “The people whose stories romance tells are among those most directly impacted by issues of reproductive justice generally, and abortion access specifically, and they are also people whose experiences are frequently discounted in the discourse around those issues,” said Title. “To me, it is a natural fit for the genre romance community, and a bookstore focusing on genre romance, to engage in the current conversation around reproductive justice, and it has been an absolute pleasure to be able to facilitate the Romance for Reproductive Justice auction as a part of that engagement.”
Items on the Auction Block
Ahead of the auction opening, more than 200 packages had been donated by romance authors, literary agents, professional book editors, and bookstores. Over half of those items include books, but the auction also has a wide variety of items for book lovers, aspiring writers, and anyone else who wants to support reproductive rights. The bidding for each item begins at one dollar.
Of course, romance readers will first be drawn to the incredible selection of books donated by authors. Bridgerton fans can bid on two full signed sets of the hit series donated by Julia Quinn. Helen Hoang has donated signed copies of all three books in The Kiss Quotient series, plus a mug with illustrations of the main characters. Some authors have offered a peek behind their writing processes with annotated books, like Farah Heron’s Kamila Knows Best. Readers looking to get an early look at highly anticipated titles like Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood can bid on advanced reader copies.
Other bookstores have also gotten in on the action. The Ripped Bodice has donated a basket with four books and goodies for your romance reading experience. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore offers a basket custom filled to your tastes. Authors and other supporters of the cause have donated a variety of handmade crafts, home decorations, and even astrological readings.
If you’re looking to improve your writing skills or someday publish a book of your own, the Romance for Reproductive Justice Auction has plenty of options that may be of interest. Authors and editors alike offer critique services for works in progress. Agents, writing coaches, and marketing and publicity professionals are offering Zoom chats and consultations to help you on your writing journey.
How to Support the Auction
Check out all the available items at the Romance for Reproductive Justice auction. Bidding opens on Saturday, May 21 and closes on Monday, May 23.