In an effort to attack the City Council’s practice of allowing individual members to distribute tax dollars to favored organizations, a Daily News editorial last month made wild and unwarranted suggestions about the non-profit corporation Bridge to Life. The News’ somber take on Bridge to Life, a member supplies grant recipient, appears to be based on the bizarre and unsubstantiated claims of some City Council members whose wastefulness knows no bounds, except where it could prevent a single abortion.
Founded in 1992 in the College Point section of Queens, Bridge to Life’s mission is stated clearly on its website: “Our hope is that through honest and compassionate counseling, our clients are empowered to choose the lives of their babies. . We also provide free education for our pregnant and parenting clients.” Queens Councilor Vickie Paladino awarded $10,000 to Bridge to Life
The News’ position on “membership articles” to fund favored groups is perfectly reasonable. But it was unreasonable to launch slanderous criticism of Bridge for Life in the anti-member op-ed. The editorial characterized the organization as “a ‘crisis pregnancy center’ that claims to provide women with health information but actually exists to discourage them from having medically safe abortions” and suggested that it is “promoting misinformation about pregnant women.” ”.
This language echoes the wild claims uttered against Bridge to Life by some Council members and their hyperventilating supporters. in a story in immigration publication Documented Speaking about how organizations like Bridge to Life “target” pregnant immigrants with their nefarious plans to help them carry their children to term, Councilwoman Shahana Hanif, co-leader of the council’s rapidly shrinking Progressive Caucus, says alarm. “We should not be allowed to fund organizations like Bridge to Life or any other crisis pregnancy center,” she said. “The fact that this has happened, I find it so dangerous and violent.”
Another opponent of the grant cited in Documented, Aviva Zadoff of the National Council of Jewish Women of New York, fears that Bridge to Life will “target” “low-income people, immigrants, and non-native speakers,” misleading them into thinking that Bridge to LIFE is a “real clinic”.
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Presto! Awarding a small grant to a group that counsels pregnant women and helps them care for their babies becomes a “dangerous and violent” act and a scheme to deceive the poor. It is not clear how this representation of the work of Bridge to Life behaves tangentially with reality. Bridge for Life hands out free pregnancy tests and provides new mothers with nappies, bottles and baby furniture, offenses for which the perpetrator would likely not be entitled to bail.
His subterfuge is not apparent. The organization’s website and literature clearly list its services and it does not claim to be a “clinic.” Its very name reveals its mission, making its purpose a bit more obvious than that connoted by the name “Planned Parenthood.”
Bridge to Life offers women referrals to medical providers where they can receive free ultrasounds, “pushing” the opposite of “misinformation.” Such a referral helps an expectant mother access standard, basic antenatal care, the kind that routinely leads pregnant families to glee over social media posts glorifying images of a child in the womb. Shouldn’t a pregnant woman in difficult circumstances, the underprivileged person that Bridge to Life’s detractors purportedly seek to protect, be given information about where she can find the medical services that are standard and expected for those better off?
Aggrieved Council members, like the entire political establishment, incessantly praise New York as a pro-choice state. But a “choice” means that one has the power to choose between alternatives. The alternative to abortion is, to put it mildly, well publicized. Bridge to Life provides information and support about the other “choice”: the decision to carry a child to term. Its simple and profound mission is to persuade; does not oblige No one is required to contact Bridge to Life, nor is anyone required to accept their advice or services. It exists to help pregnant women and young children, among the highest expressions of charity.
For that, Bridge to Life deserves so much more than $10,000 and so much better than snarky smears that are the result of thoughtless ideological bias. Should her opponents be her allies, or are they opposed to helping a poor immigrant woman who wants to persevere to bring her child into the world?
I look forward to the day when the Empire State Building is lit up in his honor and the subways are filled with government-sponsored advertisements urging those who need help to seek his services.
Browne is a lawyer.