Opinion | It May Not Feel Like It Right Now, but There Is a World of Good We Can Do

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By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

This article is part of Times Opinion’s Holiday Giving Guide 2021. Read more about this guide in a note from Katie Kingsbury, the Opinion editor of The New York Times.

Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. Every blue moon our editors ask us to tackle a particular topic. This time they’d like us to name some of the charitable causes we admire and that might also appeal to our readers.

Do you have any especially worthy ones in mind this holiday season? I mean, other than the Jan. 6 Legal Defense Fund, of course.

Gail Collins: OK, gonna be serious for a minute, Bret. I’ve been making a list, and I want to recommend a few possibilities for people who want to respond to the anti-abortion movement — or perhaps to anti-abortion relatives at holiday parties.

Bret: Sign me up.

Gail: The best way to stop abortion is to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. Everybody knows about Planned Parenthood and the great work they do, but there are also a lot of smaller, worthy organizations. Like Upstream, which has been working to make sure women who want birth control can get the care they need.

Bret: All the more important given that the Supreme Court has refused so far to overturn a blatantly unconstitutional and dangerous Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks and encourages private vigilantes to enforce it. What else?

Gail: On the same theme, children still need public support, particularly when it comes to education. Lots of great nonprofits working on early childhood development are out there and if you want help finding them, one good source is Zero to Three.

Bret: I’ve got some suggestions on that score.

Gail: And finally, to be a little self-serving, I’d recommend the Guttmacher Institute, which has always been such a reliable contact for me and other journalists looking for information on reproductive issues.

Now how about you?

Bret: Several years ago, my dear friends Paul Healy and Didier Malaquin introduced me to the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, which works in an impoverished Bronx neighborhood to provide a broad range of educational and vocational opportunities for kids from infancy through high school. It’s everything from tutoring to writing programs to an incredible Shakespeare ensemble that culminates every year in a student performance in a Manhattan theater. The alliance’s work is so terrific and it has such an impact that it even wins over curmudgeonly conservatives like me.

Gail: Sounds wonderful, and in the spirit of the season I’ll refrain from a mention of government funding.

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