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2011

Queens Councilman slammed for giving $24,000 in taxpayer money to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center

City Councilman Peter Koo has given at least $24,000 in Council member item funds since 2012 to Bridge to Life, which promotes alternatives to abortion for women with unplanned pregnancies.

A Queens Councilman is under fire for giving tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center.

City Councilman Peter Koo has given at least $24,000 in Council member item funds since 2012 to Bridge to Life, which promotes alternatives to abortion for women with unplanned pregnancies.

“Simply put, your anti-choice, anti-woman positions do not reflect the values of New York City’s Democratic voters,” Alison Tan, who is challenging Koo for his seat, wrote in in a letter to her opponent. She pressed him to give an equal amount of money to pro-choice groups.

Tan, the wife of Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, is seeking to unseat Koo in the Flushing district by highlighting his conservative views. He was originally elected as a Republican but later switched to the Democratic Party.

The head of Bridge to Life says the money goes to good use providing clothes, cribs, diapers and other donations to women in need.

Alison Tan, the wife of Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim (pictured), criticized Koo for giving the funds to the Bridge to Life pregnancy center.

(Go Nakamura/New York Daily News)

“I can’t imagine it being criticized,” said executive director Virginia Gallo. “I don’t understand why more of the Council members are not on board with us.”

The Council sought to crack down on crisis pregnancy centers, which critics say mislead women into thinking they’re medical providers, by requiring them to post signs disclosing that they don’t provide medical services. Bridge to Life complies with that rule.

The group serves about 4,000 women a year with free pregnancy tests, donations of maternity and baby clothes and supplies, and referrals to housing and other services, Gallo said.

“All I tell them is you have choices. I can help you with adoption and I can get you free medical care,” she said. “It’s not at all political.”

Koo said that while he is personally against abortion, he believes the procedure should be legal.

(Go Nakamura/New York Daily News)

But Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund PAC, said the group should not be getting city money, noting Koo also voted against the 2010 bill putting restrictions on the centers.

“Not only did he fail to act to prevent these fake clinics from misleading women, but he has used his budget allocation to finance their duplicitous activities. The people of Queens deserve a representative on the Council who will fight to protect their reproductive health and rights,” she said.

Koo says that while he is personally against abortion, he believes the procedure should be legal. His spokesman Scott Sieber stood by the allocation.

“Council Member Koo supports a women’s right to choose. He funds hundreds of social service organizations that support women and families,” he said. “He funded this group because they provide a host of services to new mothers, from car seats to baby clothes, and the Council Member is proud to help make these resources more available to Flushing families.”