Back in the day, 1997 to be exact, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion at The Woodlands refused to allow Planned Parenthood access to the grounds during Lilith Fair, basedon a policy banning organizations espousing “contentious issues” from the grounds.
The Pavillion told Pace Concerts, who told Planned Parenthood, but no one told the Lilith Fair organizers. Mistake.
Sarah McLachlan and Joan Osborne held a press conference vowing never to perform at the Pavillion again unless Planned Parenthood got access. Planned Parenthood got access.
Joan Osborne always invited Planned Parenthood to staff a table at her performances. I enjoyed a great show right before she was HUGE, staffing a tiny cocktail table at Rockefeller’s on Washington Avenue.
I tell you this to set the stage for how incredibly disappointed I am to learn about this year’s Lilith Fair debacle over the Choose Your Charity scheme they devised for selecting charities to benefit from the tour.
It seems that Lilith is no longer pro-choice. Among the charities on the ballot were multiple crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes that provide women with deceptive and often outright false information about their options.
Um, women noticed. And, as women who notice are wont to do, they got organized and got loud. The result?
This morning [April 2, 2010], four days after releasing a list of local charities–including several crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and maternity homes–as potential recipients of grant money from the Lilith music festival tour, organizers today dropped the CPCs from the Lilith Tour Choose Your Charity Contest. Also dropped, however, was NARAL Pro Choice North Carolina in Raleigh, NC. However the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, GA, which provides women’s health services including but not limited to abortion remains on the list.
The anti-choice maternity homes stayed on the list, too.
What is an anti-choice maternity home, you ask? Adoption is a wonderful option, don’t get me wrong. But women have documented particularly nasty treatment of young pregnant women at some of these homes. They are coerced into “choosing” adoption, when some of them fell for the line that the home would provide them support so they could keep their baby. They are browbeaten, shamed, and threatened … made to sign legal documents without the chance to understand them, shuttled back and forth to doctor visits without being able to ask questions or participate in decisions about their care . . . the tactics have been going on for a long time, and haven’t really changed.
But I digress. What I want to know is where are the artists in all of this? Why was NARAL removed from the list? Lilith Fair has already gone through this exercise, and yet 13 years later, it all starts again.
Big sigh. I’ll keep monitoring the situation.
In the meantime, if you are up for a little bit of web-based activism, you can become a fan of Lilith Fair: No money for crisis pregnancy centers! on Facebook.