CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A crowdfunding website that touts itself as having been founded by three friends that identify as missionaries has removed a campaign for a pro-life crisis pregnancy center out of its opinion that the cause could potentially be “divisive.”
According to its website, “YouCaring was founded in 2011 by Brock Ketcher, Naomi Ketcher and Luke Miner in Redding, Calif., when they returned from two years of international mission trips. Deeply inspired by their experiences abroad, the three resolved to continue helping others when they arrived home.”
The three became involved overseas under the tutelage of Chris Gore of Bethel Redding Church, led by Bill Johnson. Bethel has raised concern among some Christians for its practice of “grave soaking” and claims of seeing “angel feathers” fall during services, as well as other ideas associated with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
Miner and the Ketchers no longer lead the company, but are still involved with YouCaring to some extent. Many churches use the site to fundraise for their building projects or missions work.
Recently, the Monroe HELP Crisis Pregnancy Center in Monroe, North Carolina set up an account on YouCaring to raise funds for a new mobile ultrasound unit. The campaign was entitled “Help Drive Up Funds for a New Life-Saving RV Unit!”
The organization’s current unit has been helping to save unborn children in the Charlotte area as it provides free ultrasounds for women and other maternal care. The pregnancy center has witnessed thousands of mothers change their mind about abortion after seeing their child in the womb via ultrasound. The mobile unit parks regularly outside of A Preferred Women’s Health of Charlotte and other facilities to encourage mothers to choose life over death.
On Monday, a representative of the the pregnancy center contacted YouCaring to inquire how to add another name to the account for access, and hours later received a message that the entire fundraiser had been shut down completely as it had been deemed “not a good fit” for the crowdfunding site.
“YouCaring focuses on bringing communities together in support of non-divisive causes. In this case, we feel the controversy surrounding the issue of crisis pregnancy prevents your fundraiser from being a good fit for YouCaring,” read the email from a company representative identified as Ellie.
“We’ve closed your campaign and any funds raised thus far will be accessible via your payment processing account,” it said.
YouCaring confirmed to Christian News Network that it did indeed shut down the campaign, and did so because the company only allows campaigns that are “non-divisive.”
“That campaign was removed by us and the organizer was notified that the campaign was being removed because it violated our terms of service that we do not permit campaigns that cause divisiveness or disharmony in our community,” Director of Communications Leonard Lee stated. “We determined that this particular campaign has the potential to create divisiveness or disharmony within our community.”
He said that the company doesn’t automatically prohibit pro-life fundraising, but would not specify what aspect of the Monroe fundraiser was concerning. Many of his responses were vague.
“Our terms of service permit us to remove campaigns at our discretion,” Lee outlined.
“YouCaring is committed to supporting campaigns that are based in compassion and kindness,” he said, but remarked that the pregnancy center’s campaign was rejected solely on “divisiveness” grounds. “We have some specific prohibitions such as political campaigns and legal defense funds, but beyond that we do review campaigns on a case-by-case basis to examine their suitability for our site.”
Last September, a couple used YouCaring to raise money to fund an abortion after they were informed that their unborn child had been diagnosed with spina bifida. The couple, identified as Eric and Jordan, raised $2,000 before their campaign was suspended.
Lee stated that the couple had suspended the campaign themselves and would have been “subject to review and potential removal” if it had come to the attention of YouCaring sooner. Other reports state that the couple might have suspended the campaign because they had raised enough money to obtain the abortion. Lee would not state whether or not YouCaring provided the funds raised to the couple.
“Unfortunately we cannot address the status of the funds that were raised by the campaign,” he said.