August 25, 2003

I've been asked to participate in an upcoming Planned Parenthood Benefit at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO. Because PP is usually associated directly with the abortion issue, I felt the need to address this, and explain to my fans and friends exactly why I've put my name on the benefit roster. First of all, I've been told this is not meant to be a "pro-choice" rally, (although the issue of women's choice will probably be raised by speakers at the event) but rather it's meant to be an event to raise funds for the local Planned Parenthood since funding has been cut for ALL services.

I'd like people to understand that from my perspective, PP is valuable because it provides affordable health care services to men and women of all belief systems. As a private music instructor and performing musician I've gone for periods of time without health insurance, and PP is the only place where I can afford to get annual exams, cancer screening, etc. If Planned Parenthood continues to lose funding, it could mean the annihalation of much-needed health-care for many low-income Columbians.

In terms of the abortion issue, I am sympathetic to both sides, in that uncomfortable position where the hard-core pro-choicers would find me too wishy-washy, and the hard-core pro-lifers would find my understanding and belief in a woman's right to choose too intellectualized or possibly even amoral. It's quite an uncomfortable place to be in society's eyes, but it is QUITE comfortable in my own heart, where I fundamentally realize no issue is ever truly black and white. In the shades of grey is where I find the most truth and the ability to be most open-minded. I desire for women to have reproductive health and freedom, I do not pass judgment on those who are struggling to get through this life as best they can, I value the life of both fetus and woman. VERY grey issue.

I'm proud to support PP as a valuable medical facility. I do not want to aliennate any of my fans who might be very sensitive to the abortion issue. I am hopeful that my listeners can understand the complexity and fullness of the PP issue, rather than being stonewalled by a particular issue. I'm hoping this benefit can be bigger than that, and even if it doesn't turn out to be, please know that my particular voice is raised for the reasons I have stated and ONLY for those reasons.

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