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?

I told Planned Parenthood I was keeping my baby and they said they couldn’t help

Story from Christina Doell, Purdue University Alumna

When I decided that I couldn’t go through with my scheduled abortion, I called Planned Parenthood in Indianapolis, IN and cancelled my appointment. I then proceeded to seek out information on pregnancy care with the lady over the phone.

I just assumed since Planned Parenthood claimed to be a women’s health clinic that they could offer me the care I was in need of. The representative on the other end of the phone rudely responded that Planned Parenthood did not provide that care.

“Well, fine” I thought, slightly irritated.

So, I then went on to ask her where I could receive care. She simply stated that she could not direct me anywhere.

“Okay…” I responded and then simply thanked her and hung up the phone.

I was scared and had no idea where to go. So, I ended up going a few months without receiving any care. I did not know that I was supposed to take prenatal vitamins or not eat lunch meat. And thankfully I was able to get the care that I needed in my pregnancy crisis situation, but it was no thanks to Planned Parenthood.

It was around that time that I bumped into a student with fliers about Students for Life. I had heard of them on campus. I stopped and talked to her. She kindly directed me to LifeCare, a free non-profit pregnancy crisis center on campus. Because of Students For Life directing me towards LifeCare, I was able to get free counseling, maternity clothes, and educational classes on pregnancy and labor. They also helped me go through with my decision to place my daughter for adoption.

Planned Parenthood was not there for me as a woman in my moment of need.

It was basically like once I changed my mind about the abortion and they weren’t going to get their money, they didn’t care about me or my situation or at all. If Planned Parenthood was actually for women, why couldn’t they at least have directed me towards a place to receive care? And what about the baby girl I was carrying? Planned Parenthood did not care about her either.

 

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.”

 

How Pregnant on Campus Changed My Life

By Sade Patterson, SFLA Correspondent

I was finishing my sophomore year of college when I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I had only been married for 11 months, but we were unsure about the future of our relationship at that point.

Getting pregnant while in college was not part of my plan and it certainly wasn’t in the plan at that point in our marriage either. Like many young adults, I hoped to finish my undergraduate education and start a family after working for a couple of years and traveling.

“Do you need to talk about abortion?”

I remember the day I found out I was expecting: I was in the Student Health Center on campus getting a checkup after a cold, when the nurse walked in and told me, “Well, you’re pregnant.”

It was as if she was speaking a foreign language; I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. How could this happen? This was the worst possible time to bring a child into what seemed to be my broken little world.

At the time, I was a member of Students for Life (SFL) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and had received training on the scientific proof that pointed to the humanity of the unborn. I knew at that moment that I was carrying a child – my child – and that it deserved life, but the words from my nurse became more clear as I woke from my daze of confusion, “Do you need to talk about abortion?”

Living my words

For a moment I considered it. It seemed like an abortion would solve my issues for just a moment. But then I remembered the women I spoke to that semester who came up to POCour Pregnant on Campus Initiative table and said they were pregnant.

They came to me with fear after facing an unplanned pregnancy and I told them they were strong. I told them they could continue their education, and that they had support to be a successful parent. I realized I lacked the same hope for myself that I had for these women. I too could be strong. I too could continue my education, and had the same support to be a successful parent. “No, I’m keeping my baby,” I told her, and she walked out of the examination room and never returned.

I choose life and accepted help

Most people expect the struggles to resolve after a mother chooses life over an abortion, but it was hard to be pregnant and continue my education. I faced discrimination on campus, which made me doubt my ability to excel in school, and my young age brought insecurities of my ability to be a good mother.

Graduation 3Despite my doubts, I had a wealth of support on campus – members of SFL who advocated for me when I faced discrimination. Through Pregnant on Campus, I was referred to a local pregnancy resource center where I could receive tools on parenting and baby items I needed. Members bought me maternity clothes, took me out for lunch, got me a crib, and most importantly became my family.

Pregnant on Campus was always there

The struggles grew after I had Daniel, as did the support I received and the strength I acquired. Over the next two years I led Students for Life at UNM as President, became a Wilberforce Fellow, began working as a client advocate at the same pregnancy center that assisted me, and was appointed to be a senator on my campus, which gave me ample opportunity to pass five pieces of legislation such as parental leave for students and other initiatives that support pregnant and parenting students on my campus.Graduation

In the midst of what seemed like accomplishments, I faced hardships along the way, but I realize that each trial made me a stronger and a more empowered individual. I had to figure out how to juggle school, several jobs, leadership positions, and a family life, while overcoming my recent diagnosis of depression and PTSD.

The honest truth is that I never figured out how to juggle everything, but I did figure out how to ask for help, and how to prioritize what was important in my life, and I owe a lot of that to Pregnant on Campus and the members of Students for Life.

The resources we offer students through Pregnant on Campus who face pregnancies and are parents on campus are not only physical needs. They include emotional support, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to call late at night, a pep talk, a shopping trip, a glass on wine (after the pregnancy of course), and someone to remind you that you are capable and strong even when you fail to see it yourself.

I graduated!

I graduated this month from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and am planning to continue in the pro-life movement as a journalist.Graduation 2

I remember myself two-and-a-half years when I found out I was pregnant, and thought my world was turned upside down. I didn’t know what I needed at the time, but what I received was support, empowerment, and friendship from Students for Life of America’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative. My struggles are not gone; sometimes they come stronger than most days. But what I do know now that I didn’t before is that I have support through those struggles.

You can be this support on your own campus. There are women like myself and many who don’t have half the support I did. As we start a new year, commit to seeking out these students and offering the support I was offered. You have the tools; now share them.

 

TOP 12 PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES FOR PREGNANT AND PARENTING STUDENTS

Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization, released this year’s list of Top Colleges and Universities for Pregnant and Parenting Students – Public School Edition.

“Unexpectedly finding out you are pregnant as a college student can be terrifying, lonely, and a huge shock. These students need support and encouragement, and the schools that go out of their way to offer programs, housing, scholarships, and childcare to these students should be commended,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Instead of sending pregnant students to the nearest Planned Parenthood, these schools have put a premium on offering pregnant and parenting students the resources they need so they don’t have to choose between the life of their child and their education.”

According to a 2014 Guttmacher study, 42% of abortions are performed on college aged-women, ages 18-24.  Many students feel the pressure to choose an abortion over parenthood, while others feel the pressure to drop out of school and choose parenthood. The top two reasons these mothers give for having an abortion is not being able to continue their job or education and financial issues. But another study done in 2014 shows that 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents of dependent children, making up more than 26% of college students.

SFLA released its first Top Schools for Pregnant and Parenting Students last year but many of them were private Christian or Catholic schools. This year’s list only consists of public universities, a couple of whom were on last year’s list as well.

“Instead of alienating pregnant and parenting students, these public universities are extending a helping hand and making it possible for students to continue their education and care for their families,” said Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director for Students for Life of America.

In addition to the list below, pregnant students on campus can find excellent resources at www.PregnantonCampus.org, a unique website that has compiled lists of housing options, material resources, financial aid, and support groups at hundreds of schools across the nation.

“We hope that these universities will set the standard when it comes to an attitude of making campus a pregnant and parenting friendly place. They all deserve recognition and applause for their willingness to help all their students succeed,” concluded Hawkins.

Students for Life of America used the following criteria to determine the list of the top schools that foster an environment of true choice, where students can choose their child and their education:

  • The school must have some of kind of support program or network for pregnant and/or parenting students.
  • The school has policies in place that specifically welcome and accept pregnant/parenting students.
  • The school has scholarships for Pregnant/Parenting Students.
  • The school offers housing for students with dependents.
  • The school offers additional resources like lactation rooms, diaper decks, child care for students’ children, etc.
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12 items   2 followers   10 votes   1.44k views

Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students

According to a 2014 Guttmacher study, 42% of abortions are performed on college aged-women, ages 18-24. Many students feel the pressure to choose an abortion over parenthood, while others feel the pressure to drop out of school and choose parenthood. The top two reasons these mothers gave for having an abortion is not being able to continue their job or education and financial issues. But another study done in 2014 shows that 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents of dependent children, making up more than 26% of college students. These are the top public schools in the country making efforts to encourage pregnant and parenting students.

1

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Nov 01, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The UW Student Parent Resource helpfully guides UW parenting students to resources on and off campus. The Center offers comprehensive resources lists for both campus and community resources , and the Center helpfully identifies the locations of diaper changing stations and lactation spaces. The Center also offers the Child Care Assistance Program. UW currently has four childcare centers on or near campus and five family housing options. The office of UW WorkLife has actively worked to increase their campus’ “family-friendly” environment through their child care access initiative. The Child Care Advisory Committee meets 4-5 times each year to assess and improve child care accessibility for the UW community. What’s more, there are two parenting support groups and a pro-life group, Students for Human Life.

2

Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles, CA

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles, CA

Through the Family Resource Center (FRC), LAVC provides Student-Parent Scholarships to "LAVC student parents who demonstrate financial need and/or are going through a financial hardship." The Family Resource Center, which provides resources and support to all members of the LAVC community, organizes such programs as: children playgroups, baby clothes exchange, and a lending library. The FRC also provides a child-friendly study lounge, computer lab, and lactation room. Student internships are available to students interested in learning child development and cooperative education.

3

Winona State University, Winona, MN

Oct 27, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | Winona State University, Winona, MN

Winona State University steps up their game by offering a well-resourced Student Parent Support Center on campus, where student parents can connect with other, attend workshops (with free food), and make use of the many resources offered to pregnant and parenting students. The Student Parent Resource Center houses resting and studying areas, has room for storage and toys, and has lactation rooms available with electric-grade pumps. They also offer parenting courses, emotional support, emergency funds and counseling. For childcare options, WSU has the WSU Children's Center for children ages six weeks through fourth grade, which has sites both on and off campus. The Families First Scholarship has been established for single parents on campus and there are extensive listings of local community organizations who can help pregnant and parenting students with financial aid, clothing, prenatal care, legal advice, sexual assault counseling and academic help.

4

University of California, San Diego, CA

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of California, San Diego, CA

When it comes to family friendly housing options, UCSD goes above and beyond, offering four different housing options to parenting students. In addition, UCSD has two campus child care programs, plus suggestions for local UCSD babysitting resources. For students that bring their children to campus, UCSD provides two child-friendly study rooms, a family swim program, special parking for breastfeeding parents and caretakers, and special transportation services. If that wasn't enough, UCSD offers priority enrollment for undergraduates with children, family counseling, a campus food pantry, 16 lactation rooms, and parental leave. Pregnant and parenting students at UCSD are sure to feel the utmost support and empowerment to complete their education.

5

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

The University of Utah supports pregnant and parenting students through the Center for Child Care and Family Resources. UU students can utilize six different programs , such as the Student Child Care Program or University Kids. The school provides CCAMPIS child care subsidy grants, or the School-Life Scholarship for students who don't qualify for CCAMPIS and can't afford childcare. UU has free child care programs: Parent Night Out, Finals Week Child Care, Team Tots Child Care (for parents working out), and Drop in Evening Care. UU encourages students to breastfeed on campus and provides 15 family friendly spaces with lactation rooms and diaper decks. UU also hosts family workshops and lists local resources.

6

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

At OSU, pregnant and parenting students can voice their opinions and find support through the Student/Parent Advisory Board. Students can also benefit through various students and employee child care subsidies and scholarships, and even live in OSU's Orchard Court Family Housing. OSU offers a positive for environment for parents, and goes above and beyond with Bring Your Kid to Campus Day. Students are also encouraged to breastfeed on campus, and can use any of the 24 separate lactation rooms between classes.

7

University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Through the Office of Child Care and Family Resources, the University of Wisconsin offers several programs and resources to pregnant and parenting students that allow them excel in their education. Students at UW can utilize childcare and learning programs, childcare assistance grants, single parent scholarships, and 31 lactation rooms. Students can enjoy other programs like UW's Kids Night Out and various parent education events. This is a great child-friendly campus where parents can feel comfortable and reach their educational goals.

8

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

UNM is slowly but surely supporting pregnant and parenting students. Parenting students are offered child care located right next to campus at UNM's Children's Campus. For students who qualify for federal aid, they can apply for the Drop-In Program, and still afford child care. Parenting students can also live in UNM's Resident Life & Student Housing, which offers 200 apartments to students with families. Students are encouraged to utilize over a dozen lactation rooms and join the new Lobo Cubs parenting support group. Members of the group are offered free childcare once a week for study hours.

9

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

This is the second appearance of Texas A&M on SFLA's list of top schools for pregnant and parenting students. Texas A&M has a campaign to promote breastfeeding for nursing mothers at the school by offering 10 lactation rooms throughout campus. The Pro-Life Aggies on campus offer a scholarship for pregnant and parenting students as well and have a support group for them.

10

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Nov 01, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

At the City College of San Francisco, parenting students can find community and support through the Dr. Betty Shabazz Family Resource Center. Parenting students can meet one another or study with their kids in the child-friendly computer lab. The Resource Center also provides a supervised child activity room for drop-in (for children six months to 12-years-old). The Parent Exchange Program allows students to leave their children for up to nine hours per week while they attend class. For more community support and resources, the Resource Center’s resources list provides suggestions for assistance with child care, family support, healthcare, social services, and domestic violence.

11

Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT

This is Norwalk's second time on SFLA's list of top schools for pregnant and parenting students. Norwalk offers the Family Economic Security Program, which seeks to help parenting students achieve economic security and obtain their degrees. They help with life goals, counseling, and support to achieve success. The school also provides discounted childcare for students at their on-campus Child Development Center for children ages six months to five years old.

12

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Oct 18, 2016
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students | University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

UMASS understands that many parenting students cannot come to campus to complete their education, and seek to serve those individual students through the University Without Walls Program. This program allows parenting students to take UMASS courses online, and still manage their work and home lives.

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

Using Student Gov to Help Pregnant and Parenting Students

By Sade Patterson, SFLA correspondent

I was setting up a tabling event for Students for Life at my school, the University of New Mexico, during Welcome Back Week in August when I got a call from the Associated Students of UNM (ASUNM).

Getting a call from ASUNM was surprising in itself, but what came from the other end of the phone was even more surprising to me. Apparently, a couple of ASUNM senators who had been voted in the previous semester had stepped down from their positions, and I was being asked to fill one of those positions. I had toyed with the idea of running for ASUNM in the past, but as a parenting student with several jobs, I couldn’t imagine fitting another role into my schedule.

Despite my reservations, I was compelled to pray about the decision to accept this position, and was led by my convictions to agree to this amazing opportunity.

My main motivation to become a senator at UNM was to be the voice for pregnant and parenting students, and meet the needs of this growing demographic.

To that end, I began work immediately on my first piece of legislation: a resolution to provide diaper-changing stations in all public restrooms on campus.

Currently, there are nearly 4.8 million undergraduate students that are parents of dependent children in this country; many students and even faculty members decide to bring their infants to campus, and I believe they should be able to have a safe and clean place to change their baby’s diaper.

I remember on several occasions, bringing my son, Daniel, to campus as a newborn, infant, and toddler and having to change his diaper on a table because the building my class was in did not have a diaper-changing table.

Mothers often have a difficult time finding diaper-changing stations on campus, but fathers suffer the most in any public area. Fathers seem to be overlooked as a demographic who are students and who bring their children to campus, and we should make every effort to equally accommodate and support them.

After announcing my intention with this resolution, my efforts were embraced and diaper decksupported by my fellow senators, as well as student organizations the Women’s Resource Center and the Equal Opportunity office.  I was able to see the resolution pass through committee and then through full senate without any conflict. In addition, I was grateful to speak on a local TV station about the issue in light of President Obama’s recent bill to provide diaper-changing stations in male restrooms in government buildings.

Despite my resolution passing to provide diaper changing stations in all public restrooms on campus, the University of New Mexico claims they do not have the budget to make this a reality at the current time. My goal is to now send this resolution to the House of Representatives and our Governor’s office in New Mexico in hopes that this initiative will be brought up yet again in state legislation.

This is the first of many resolutions I am working on as an ASUNM senator to support and empower pregnant and parenting students. Future resolutions will include mom-to-be-parking, priority enrollment, parental leave, Title IX protection, child-friendly study zones, scholarships, Bring Your Child to Campus Day, and free daycare during finals.

This is another way to be a pro-life voice on campus and I want to challenge you to join this mission. You don’t need to be a senator at your campus; however, I would encourage you to run for a leadership position if you feel led to.

It is not an impossible task as a student of your campus to support pregnant and parenting students. The best way to further this mission is to table and display with your Pregnant on Campus Initiative resources. It’s a huge source of encouragement to feel that other students are encouraging you as a parenting student.

If you want to go further and create initiatives on your campus through legislation, reach out to your student government with a list of ideas and sit with them as they write out legislation. Go to meetings with your student government and voice your opinion.

Even if you don’t have a position within government on campus, you can still have a voice for pregnant and parenting students who may not feel empowered enough to ask for help.

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.