Anti-choice activists appeared to be just as surprised as anyone that the Lilith Tour organizers included several crisis pregnancy centers in their initial list of potential local charities that could receive $1 from every Lilith ticket sold in that tour location’s city.
However surprised they might have been, anti-choice personalities like Jill Stanek and Lila Rose are not ones to pass up an opportunity to get publicity. It was inevitable that they would make a move to marshal votes for the crisis pregnancy centers, regardless of the fact that popularity itself would not ultimately determine which charity is selected. Lilith founders – Sarah McLachlan, Terry McBride, Dan Fraser and Marty Diamond – will pick the local charity winners from among the top three charities with the most votes in each city. In order to guarantee an anti-choice victory, the charities would need to fill all of the top three slots. While Stanek believe the crisis pregnancy centers are a longshot at getting picked, she holds out hope that the maternity homes may be chosen and urged her follower to post anti-choice comments to Lilith’s Facebook page and vote for anti-choice charities.
Rose posted Stanek’s article to her Facebook page and also urged people to vote for the anti-choice groups.
Even Stanek was surprised that, by her own count, eight crisis pregnancy center/maternity homes were included on the initial list and the only two overtly pro-choice organizations included were the Feminist Women’s Health Center, Atlanta, GA and NARAL Pro Choice North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.
It’s difficult to understand why only two made cut. Lilith co-founder, Terry McBride’s own statement was that the initial charity list started with “a basic digital search in each market of woman’s charities,” which he clarified to Chicago Reader reporter Jessica Hopper translated to “looking online for woman-focused organizations with federal tax ID numbers.”
But if that was the case — that it was a simply search without much vetting — why were so few overtly pro-choice organizations included in the initial list? Why was only NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina and no other state NARAL or Planned Parenthood organization included? Surely they would have been found using the search as described.
Hopper meanwhile has posted an open letter to McBride, outside of her role as a reporter, but “as a woman concerned about the quality of womens’ lives,” urging the Lilith Tour organizers to reconsider allowing crisis pregnancy centers to be included in the list of charities.
… I hope you understand that the issue at hand is it’s not simply that some of the “health centers” that Lilith is offering up are “anti-choice”. It’s that these five+ Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the running are KNOWN as being places where pregnant women given horrible misinformation–
i.e. if they have an abortion it means if they ever have a child it is more likely to die, or that the morning after pill will make them infertile, or that a during an abortion a doctor can suck you entire uterus out by accident, that condoms cannot prevent STDs…. And it’s supporting those places and putting them along side credible and woman-valuing work as rape crisis hotlines and battered women’s shelters that is the real issue.
The people working in these communities–the informed people you told me Lilith is banking on to decide which are the “right” places to receive money–have to now rally and make sure that the money goes to the truly “right” place rather than organizations that lie to women about their bodies and options, simply because they arbitrarily came up in your Google search. Yesterday, I spoke to a woman that runs an abuse hotline that made the Lilith ballot and everyone in her office is now more concerned about making sure that the CPC in their city NOT get this money, more so than what they can do to get money for their hotline. Another group in Portland was saddened that CPCs were going to be legitimized and bolstered by their nomination. I don’t imagine this was your intention, but it is the outcome you have created, nevertheless.
It seems the publicity may be causing Lilith Tour organizers to rethink their position. Becky Smith, cofounder of the “Lilith Fair: No money for crisis pregnancy centers!” Facebook page provided an email she received from McBride this afternoon.
I respect and support your point of view.
The intent behind this contest is to have the community help us select worthy choices so that Lilith’s can make an informed decision on its local charity donation. It is also our heartfelt desire to bring awareness to all the great work being done in the local communities by the many organizations, not just the one we choose in the end.
This process is now being polarized by politics which is really such a negative tact where it should be a positive one as we want and respect community input to help us. The seeding at the start was done with a basic digital search in each market of woman’s charities, it’s not perfect , nor could it be as we simply don’t have the local expertise even within our own city of Vancouver.
It’s become clear that we need to set a Criteria which we will shortly release that will resolve many of the issues. (emphasis added)