Planned Parenthood’s VOX Bullies Pregnant on Campus Group at W&M

Students for Life of America created the Pregnant on Campus (PonC) Initiative almost six years ago, and it’s been wildly successful. This Initiative gives students tangible ways to put their pro-life beliefs into action. PonC groups lobby their universities to become more pregnant and parenting friendly by introducing diaper decks into bathrooms, opening up lactation rooms on campus, having childcare available at the school, and educating students on what options there are locally (including important Title IX non-discrimination clauses at the school) to help them to parent their child or place for adoption and continue her education.

SFLA and PonC believe no student should be forced to choose between her child and her education. Our Pregnant on Campus Initiative promotes are real solutions and compassionate support for students facing unplanned pregnancies and for parents continuing their education. In fact, www.PregnantonCampus.org is the only website that has compiled both national and local resources for students at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country for anyone to access. William and Mary’s page even includes such items as where to ask for help regarding pregnancy policies and resources and even where to find lactation rooms on campus! (See their campus page here: www.PregnantOnCampus.org/WM )

These are worthy goals – and even students on campus who are pro-choice are encouraged by our Pregnant on Campus program. Some have even partnered with PonC groups for certain projects. Currently, SFLA serves over 180 PonC college groups nationally, including one at the College of William and Mary (W&M) in Virginia, which is an awesome group!

The W&M PonC group put up flyers around campus advertising the group, inviting people to their meetings and offering free resources for pregnant or parenting students.

Well, the Planned Parenthood affiliated group at W&M, VOX, was having none of this. They were so incensed by W&M PonC Initiative’s offer to help pregnant and parenting students that they posted a long rant on their own Facebook page, along with pictures of the W&M PonC flyers, to call attention to the “shaming language” and “misinformation” that the PonC group supposedly promotes. They attempted to claim that they are the only ones who could possibly offer unbiased information to pregnant women, even pointing their readers to their local Planned Parenthood (of course) and the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Without going into all the details that one can easily find with a Google search of Planned Parenthood, here are the highlights of unsavory business practices in this last six months of this supposedly trusted women’s healthcare provider:

  • They and their business partners have been referred for over a dozen criminal actions by committees in both the US House and Senate for illegally buying and selling the body parts of babies they aborted and handing over sensitive patient information.
  • Planned Parenthood boasts that they have a wide range of services, including prenatal care. However, a recent investigation found that isn’t the case at all. In 97 Planned Parenthood’s called about the prenatal care they offered, 92 said they couldn’t even refer the woman out for such care, much less provide it.
  • In interviews with former Planned Parenthood employees, abortion quotas are a thing – and employees get rewarded with things like pizza parties for meeting or exceeding those quotas. Planned Parenthood has an agenda and women are the victims, not the ones empowered.

The W&M PonC group saw the post and offered to talk to VOX and have a constructive dialogue. VOX would hear none of it:

vox wamm

This W&M Pregnant on Campus group is a great resource on campus, and yet they are being bullied for merely offering women a better option than abortion. The VOX group won’t even talk to them because they don’t agree with their beliefs of “equal access and justice” (AKA abortion-on-demand for any reason at any point in the pregnancy).

Here’s what you can do:

Go to the W&M Pregnant on Campus Facebook page, and send them a note of support. A campus is a small place, and word travels fast and is easily decimated. So this group needs support! Can you help?

Title IX saves lives

Contributed by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director

Learning to care

As a student-athlete in college, I had heard about Title IX ever so briefly during our team orientations. We were lectured on gender equity in sports and informed that our women’s teams would be just as well supported as our male counterparts. There was probably a Q&A segment, and maybe we had to fill out papers to sign acknowledging our awareness of this information. Other than that, it wasn’t a big deal. I might have also heard about Title IX in history class or in passing references to sexual harassment and assault on campus, but for the most part, I was in the dark. For all I cared, Title IX was five letters and two Roman numerals.

I find that this is the case with most students. If you aren’t personally experiencing discrimination on campus or in a position to need these types of resources, you aren’t likely to have sought out this information or learned it in earnest. Many times, we don’t bother learning critical information, like Title IX rights and accommodations or even our local pregnancy support resources, until we need it (for ourselves or a classmate asking for help). We assume that we’ll be able to access all this information when the time comes.

And while this is true in many cases, it’s not the best approach! Delays in providing information can cause more distress for your pregnant and parenting peers. As a Female-Athlete-Know-Your-Title-IX-Rights-653x1024student leader on campus (especially one who advocates for pregnant and parenting students), you need to take the time to research this information, compile it in one place, and discuss it with your group so that you are prepared to respond promptly and effectively to the concerns and needs of your peers.

Why it matters

Title IX provides protections and accommodations for pregnant and parenting students at schools which receive federal funding. Therefore, it can be a great tool to ensure that pregnant and parenting students stay in school and receive fair accommodations and support. Unfortunately, most students don’t know that these protections and accommodations are available. This can lead to students making devastating choices (e.g. dropping out of school or getting an abortion). Lack of information can also prevent a student from asserting her rights when she is being discriminated against or not adequate support.

Over the past three years, our Students for Life of America staff has noted that Title IX information is one of the top resources that pregnant and parenting students request. Simple, articulate explanations of this information has yielded some amazing results! Here are some of the situations we have witnessed over the years:

After learning about Title IX …

  • Pregnant students are better able to communicate their situation, their rights, and their needs to their professors and administrations.
  • Students have been able to resolve issues of grades and class credits that resulted from improper handlings of pregnancy-related absences (e.g. missed classwork during childbirth and recovery).
  • Pregnant students have been able to stay on their sports teams and in their special programs (e.g. honors classes) without penalty or loss of scholarship.
  • Parenting students have been able to defend their right to breastfeed their babies on campus.

This past week, we had the opportunity to work with a parenting student (Ruth) at Pikes Peak Community College to resolve her financial aid situation. Ruth was told that she would lose financial aid after having not completed enough class credits in the past semester. However, Ruth had never received Title IX information or additional support to complete those classes. Thanks to some quick teamwork, we were able to explain how to address this situation with the school’s Title IX Coordinator and what information to present. It was a success!

Lives saved

What’s more, Title IX has saved lives. About two weeks ago, our Western Regional Director, Reagan Barklage, was contacted by the Executive Director of a pregnancy resource center. The Executive Director had a client who was a student-athlete. The young girl considered aborting her baby because she was afraid that she would lose her basketball scholarship and have to drop off the team.

Thankfully, our Pregnant on Campus Initiative is prepared to handle these situations. Reagan and I worked together to get Title IX and NCAA student-athlete information sent to the Executive Director. After explaining this Title IX information, this brave student-athlete chose life!

What you can do

We want you to be able to effectively support your pregnant and parenting peers on campus. Contact our team for such resources as:

  • Title IX student group training
  • Title IX flyers and social media graphics
  • Ideas for how to advertise and share this information
  • Assistance in dealing with a Title IX pregnancy or parenting situation on your campus

Learn more about Title IX here: www.PregnantOnCampus.org/Students-Rights

HS Pregnant on Campus New Program: Building a Better Future

We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand-new program today under our Pregnant on Campus Initiative called Building a Better Future, which is designed specifically for high schools.

“While the teen pregnancy rate has slowly declined, we still have work to do. Pregnant and parenting teens need support from their communities to help them achieve success as both parents and students. The Building a Better Future program is aimed at training high school student leaders to establish a life-affirming school community and to connect these students to resources that will assist them in their personal, parenting, and educational needs,” said Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director.BBF photo

The Building a Better Future program is essentially an extension of SFLA’s successful Pregnant on Campus Initiative in that it provides earlier education on pregnancy support and directs high school pregnant and parenting students towards post-secondary educational achievements (i.e. college degrees).

“We believe that abortion is not the answer to teen pregnancies. These teens must be provided with compassionate support to help them make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families. Together, we can build a future for pregnant and parenting teens by establishing a community of support,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.

Building a Better Future will aim to train high school student leaders in how to educate their community about unplanned teen pregnancy and actively respond with compassion and helpful resources. This program will equip these students with strategies for how to increase advertisement and support of pregnancy resource centers on the high school level, and it will provide vital encouragement and support for parenting teens as they seek educational advancement and success. The hope is to encourage life-affirming pregnancy decisions and to keep parenting students in school.

Since the inception of the Pregnant on Campus Initiative in 2011, the program has grown to include over 180 student groups on college campuses nationwide. Our comprehensive website, PregnantOnCampus.org, houses searchable resources for pregnant and parenting students in over 550 campus communities as well as hundreds of other parenting student and student leader resources.

“We have found that our college student leaders are eager to get involved in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative because it gives student leaders tangible ways to help their peers and provides a solution-oriented approach to abolishing abortion in their communities,” said Rahal.

Hawkins shared, “We are hopeful high school students will have the same enthusiasm as our college leaders and we can’t wait to get started on showing the inherent compassion and love that our pro-life students have and that we get to see every day.”

 

This is what helping student moms looks like

Sometimes there are news stories you read where you can feel your heart smiling. This is one of them.

Sarah Thompson goes to Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. She has a cute little baby. She was pregnant while in school, delivered baby Isaiah, and then went back to school a week later.

Her incredible math professor, Dr. Josie Ryan, encouraged her to bring baby Isaiah to class and even showed Sarah where the lactation rooms are on campus.

But Dr. Ryan made all of us go awwwww when Sarah posted a photo on Facebook of baby Isaiah being held by Dr. Ryan while she taught class.

baby isaiah

Sarah wrote a viral Facebook page that caught the attention of not only her own friends and family but national media. The entire post is here and pasted below but Sarah points out some important things:

  • She had tangible encouragement from an authority figure, her incredible math professor, Dr. Josie Ryan: She knew I’d be overwhelmed so literally begged me to bring Isaiah to class & even showed me where the breastfeeding room in the health center was at Lander University. It’s so reassuring to know there are professors out there like this.
  • Sarah knows there are others like her that need encouragement of their own: Hopefully this post will encourage other educators or moms or pregnant/working women who are students to ask for help.
  • Sarah knows women are forces to be reckoned with and a baby isn’t a reason to give up school or a career: Women are on the rise going to school & working with children.
  • The father’s support, and support of the family, for his child and the child’s mother shows the heart of a real man, willing to step up: And my Boyfriend Chris is also in school and working as we learn to be parents & our families are beyond supportive of my decision to graduate within the first year of his birth & I couldn’t do this without them.

We don’t know if Sarah is pro-life or pro-choice but it doesn’t matter because helping pregnant is something both sides should be able to get behind. She is an amazing example of being in a difficult situation and reaching out for help and showing incredible courage to stay in school and have her child.

We at Students for Life of America are so proud of our Pregnant on Campus Initiative, which seeks to help women in the exact situations that Sarah and Chris faced. We believe no woman should be forced to choose between her child and her education. Our pro-life students absolutely love to work with these women, hold baby showers for them, help them figure out childcare, take them to doctor appointments, etc. And having professors like Dr. Josie Ryan is a huge boost for these students.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion vendor, has stated reproductive health is akin to economic security. But you know what, a woman’s academic success isn’t defined by her reproductive experiences. Our president Kristan Hawkins wrote out five reasons why this argument of Ms. Richards’ fails.

We are so proud of Sarah and Chris and thank her for bringing to light Dr. Josie Ryan’s kind heart. We hope many professors, and schools, follow in her footsteps.

Sarah Thompson post

Pregnant student gets Christian college to change pregnancy policy

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.

BYU Professor Tells Mom “Bring a Baby Monitor” – And It’s For a Great Reason

By Erica Smith, a sophomore at Brigham Young University, who is majoring in English.

The sculpture “Family Circle” stands in front of the Provo City Center Temple. Located a few blocks from Brigham Young University (BYU) campus, the temple is a favorite site BYU statutefor student weddings.

Like many college students, I scheduled two conflicting classes this semester and couldn’t choose a favorite by the start of the school. I decided to attend my child development class on Monday, another class on Wednesday, and somehow make up my mind before the add/drop deadline.  Part of my reason for taking child development was the prenatal unit. Worried that child development, like history classes, might move chronologically, I stayed behind to ask the professor whether I’d miss anything on fetal development if I skipped out on his next class.

I fell into line behind other students jabbering about test policies and textbook prices. Before I reached the professor, a student mother asked him for advice on balancing class and caring for her two-year-old daughter. He told her that she was welcome to bring her daughter to class, but of course, she’d have to go out into the hall if the baby grew fussy. Her face fell. But before she could back away, he told her, “Bring a baby monitor.” He’d set it on the front counter so she could listen to his lectures until her daughter calmed down.

At that moment, I knew I wanted to stay in his class. Here was a man who practiced what he preached, who knew his field and wanted to see his students apply what they learned as parents.

When I told my friends and shared this story on social media, some applauded the ERica Smith tweetprofessor’s kindness or recalled their own college parenting days, but others shrugged it off as another “only at BYU” moment.

Brigham Young University is funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly nicknamed “Mormons”. The church instructs members to “affirm the sanctity of life”.

BYU is proud to be a child and family friendly school. [Editor’s note: BYU made last year’s Top Schools for Pregnant and Parenting Students] Part of that arises from its religious ties, but it’s also a response to the fast and furious dating culture.

Four girls from my freshman dorm hall snagged their “ring by spring” and married before they were sophomores. Non-students and those attending other Utah schools are known to take advantage of the dating climate by showing up on campus for parties, dances, and just to wander the food court in search of that special someone.

Though dating life thrives, the church-sponsored and academically-acclaimed university is far from a party school. Premarital sex is treated as just as serious an infraction as cheating or plagiarism. For nineteen years running, BYU has topped the Princeton Review’s list of “Stone Cold Sober Schools”, and in 2015 Business Insider ranked BYU as the best school to find a spouse.

Once married, BYU offers on-campus family housing, and rental agreements accommodate engaged students moving out midterm. Married housing accommodations even extend to study abroad programs. Professors check for changed last names when calling role on the first day. In large lecture classes, nobody minds if a student slips her baby into class and parks the stroller in the aisle.

Abortion is much more of a decided issue than a hot button topic at BYU. Faculty assume most students are pro-life and pro-choice students are treated with a “Don’t forget to respect their opinions too” academic tolerance. I heard abortion discussed three times over my entire freshman year. The first was in a frustratingly neutral lesson on Roe v Wade. The second came in Missionary Preparation class, where future missionaries were instructed on how to sensitively teach potential converts who’d participated in abortions. The person to address abortion most directly wasn’t faculty, or even Mormon, but a visiting Catholic archbishop discussing similarities between the two faiths at a campus wide assembly.

Though abortion awareness isn’t strong on campus, the pro-baby atmosphere definitely is. In that sense, BYU is profoundly pro-life. Fathers cradling babies in front of library computers and mothers pushing strollers to class are a common site. Young marriages and student parenting are met with an acceptance that’s hard to find on many campuses. Though I don’t think motherhood is in my near future, it’s nice to know that if I have a child before graduation, I’ll be in good hands.