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Will The Lilith Tour Fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers?

Written by Rachel Larris for RHRealityCheck.org - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Lilith Fair, the women-centric music concert from the nineties is back. The all-female music festival will be touring this summer and on Monday, via their Facebook page, Lilith Tour organizers announced “$1 from every Lilith ticket sold will be donated to a local charity in each of the 36 cities the festival visits.” The page urged fans to vote for the charity in their city they thought Lilith should support.

However among the charities listed are several so-called crisis pregnancy centers, an odd choice for a women-centric music festival. Crisis pregnancy centers have a noted history of giving out false information about birth control and abortion.

Becky Smith, 27, from Minneapolis, started a Facebook Fan page titled “Lilith Fair: No money for crisis pregnancy centers!” with her friend Katie Blair, 26, of Indianapolis. In less than 48 hour it garnered over 500 fans.

Smith, who was in high school when the last Lilith Fair concerts happened, said she was excited for months when she first heard about the concerts.

“They really put together a dream line-up, for a fierce, feminist rocking good time,” Smith said. “I was particularly excited by Mary J. Blidge, Erykah Badu, the Gossip, Loretta Lynn, Heart, the Go-Gos...the list goes on [and] I have been anticipating buying tickets and taking off work for months.”

Smith said after she heard on Monday about the $1 donation from ticket sales her first thought was that this was a great idea. “I live in Minneapolis, so naturally, I clicked on that city first and immediately red flags went up when I saw ‘Metro Women’s Center,’” Smith said.

The Metro Women’s Center, whose mission is described on Lilith’s own voting page, is a crisis pregnancy center.

The Metro Women’s Center is described as follows: “To actively promote and maintain the sanctity of human life through educating women and the community at large about pregnancy alternatives so that informed decisions concerning the outcome of pregnancy may be made. We desire to do this by respecting the lives of both the mother and the child equally. We believe that the answer to a problem or unplanned pregnancy is not to abort the child, but to seek alternatives which allow both parties to live.”

Smith said her friend Katie Blair in Indianapolis almost immediately contacted her and noticed Life Centers, another crisis pregnancy center, was listed on the voting page for her city. As the women note on their Facebook protest page:

The Indianapolis voting page describes Life Centers, an anti-choice CPC which seems to be even less interested in covering up the fact that they do not support choice - "We empower women in unplanned pregnancies to make informed decisions about themselves and their future by offering pregnancy testing, confidential counseling services, information about abortion alternatives, and referrals.”

The two women then looked over the list of charities and found others with notable anti-choice missions. On their Facebook page they write that one questionable choice in Atlanta:

... a Beacon of Hope Women’s Center, Inc., offers a key component to many CPCs: a free ultrasound accompanied by misleading information about safe and legal abortion procedures. A Beacon of Hope freely admits on their website that, "We do not offer or refer for abortion services." The description on the Lilith Fair voting page reads (without any correction to spacing edits),"A Beacon of Hope is a counseling center for women who have unexpectedly become pregnant.”

And in Seattle:

...a decidedly anti-choice (though NOT a CPC), organization is also being considered for funding. The Seattle voting page reads as follows: "The New Beginnings Home AKA ADOPTION MINISTRY OF YOUTH WITH A MISSION. For twenty-five years, New Beginnings Home has been available to help young mothers who have chosen life for their babies. Do you know someone who is facing an unplanned pregnancy who perhaps is alone, rejected or just needs a place to live? New Beginnings is a safe haven where unconditional love and friendship are the norm and woman can plan what is best for themselves and their babies while having their physical and emotional needs cared for.”

Smith said there are also “group homes” for pregnant teens and adults on the list of charities including Mother’s Refuge in Kansas City and Our Lady's Inn in St. Louis that offer “such things as bible studies, adoption counseling, etc.”

It’s not clear if any of the charities on Lilith voting page were even notified that they were nominated to possibly receive any funds from the Lilith Tour.

Reached by telephone Colleen Tronson, director of the Metro Women's Center in Minneapolis, said she didn’t know anything about the Lilith Tour nor that her organization had been nominated for the contest of charities.

“I get a lot of spam email so it’s possible I might have missed something,” Tronson said.

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