Pregnant student gets Christian college to change pregnancy policy

Kamaria Downs. Courtesy of Public Justice.

Students for Life of America started the Pregnant on Campus Initiative because we knew that students were getting pregnant on college campuses and oftentimes had no idea that there were resources available for them so that they wouldn’t have to choose between their child and their education. Pregnant on Campus not only sought to tell students about those resource, like scholarships, special housing, and childcare options – but also create their own – things like lobbying the school for diaper decks in restrooms and easily accessible nursing rooms, holding baby showers for pregnant moms, offering babysitting services.

Title IX is a non-discrimination law that gives pregnant students the right to not be discriminated against by the school but many pregnant students don’t even know it exists. Pregnant on Campus seeks to let students know about this policy. But one student in South Carolina at a small, Christian school not only made the brave decision to have her baby when she got pregnant but also to take her school to court when they kicked her off campus for getting pregnant, citing Title IX.

Let’s repeat that: this happened at a Christian college. A Christian college kicked a pregnant student off their campus for getting pregnant instead of helping her and offering her resources to make sure she had the chance to stay in school and keep her child.

Kamaria Downs, the student at Claflin University, chose life for her child but many in her situation choose abortion. A Lifeway Research survey found that nearly 70% of women who have abortions self-identify as a Christian.  The Institute for Pro-Life Advancement, a project of SFLA, recently released polling that revealed a small number of Christian churches discuss abortion and the pro-life position on a regular basis. This is a tragedy. Abortion is a problem inside the church, as well as outside it.

Last year, SFLA released a public letter from almost two dozen students at Christian schools asking their administrations to change their policies on pregnant students to reflect the Christian viewpoint of mercy, grace and love. Kicking a student out of school because she’s pregnant isn’t a Christian response. Christian schools need to support pregnant and parenting students, not kick them out of school.

Kamaria was not only brave in her choice to carry her child to term but also courageous for challenging her school to change their policy on pregnant students. Claflin did change their policy and even thanked Kamaria for bringing the fault to their attention.

Kamaria is now the proud mom of a one-year-old little girl and is a second grade teacher. She is a wonderful example of perseverance and a good role model for her daughter. Hopefully her case will be recognized by the hundreds of other Christian schools in the country and force them to consider their own policies on pregnant and parenting students.

Photo of Kamaria Downs courtesy of Public Justice.