BY BETH DEDMAN
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is collaborating with The Feminist Institute for a benefit concert on March 14 advocating for gender equality and access to sexual and reproductive health care.
The concert, which will be held at Town Hall, will feature Courtney Love and Melissa Auf der Maur performing together, former Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell joined by Etty Lau Farrell, Rachael Yamagata, Joan As Police Woman, BETTY and other special guests.
The concert, organized by The Feminist Institute and Hal Willner with Executive Producer Lawrence B. Benenson, is meant to show support to Planned Parenthood as it faces de-funding from federal and state legislatures and pay tribute to feminism’s role in society, while also providing a contemporary context for music as a form of cultural expression and resistance.
“As an organization devoted to illuminating feminist contributions to culture, The Feminist Institute is galvanized by the way rock music has been at the forefront of feminist activism,” said Kathleen Landry, the president and founder of The Feminist Institute. “This concert is a way to tell that story and stand up for reproductive rights. As one of the most influential rock voices of our generation, Courtney Love has always projected an electric independence for women and embraced the word ‘feminism’ from the very start: original, rebellious, creative, and equal. Feminism: we meant it the first time.”
Proceeds will support Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s mission to provide comprehensive, confidential sexual and reproductive health care, as well as the Feminist Institute’s mission to collect, digitize and share online the rich history of feminist art, humanities, politics and business.
“Music has always been a powerful tool in the fight for social justice,” said Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. “Now more than ever, we must be bold, courageous, and loud about protecting the full range of sexual and reproductive health care, including access to safe, legal abortion.”
Headliner Courtney Love thinks that free women’s reproductive health care is important because a lack of access to it when she was in her twenties put her health at serious risk, she said.
“There is no way as an American woman who got through it miraculously healthy, that I’m going to let other women suffer,” Love said. “I hope this concert can help young women realize that vital information, education, and medical help is out there for them, and we have to fight like hell to make sure that it remains that way. Women’s clinics and the law are under attack—that means our mental and physical health is under attack and we have to protect each other.”
Melissa Auf der Maur, the former bass player of Hole, knew it was time to get the band back together when questions about the Trump administration’s effect on women’s rights to choose and reproductive rights came up after the 2016 election, she said.
“I began to imagine Courtney and all of her complex feminist lyrics screaming at these old men who dared to judge what we should and should not have,” Auf der Maur said. “I wanted to get back on stage supporting Hole’s legacy in being outspoken and fearless… We are both mothers of daughters, and as it was before, their rights and future generations’ women’s rights and freedoms are my inspiration. When [we were] contacted about this upcoming concert, it finally all lined up.”
Planned Parenthood is grateful for the support of these artists that are using their platforms to support their mission and that The Feminist Institute is in their corner, McQuade said.
“Together we are creating a future where everyone can access health care regardless of where they live or who they love,” McQuade said.
Tickets are on sale at thetownhall.org.