Every day, life is being put to an end before it even has the opportunity to begin. According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 3,000 abortions in America per day. One study by the Guttmacher Institute found that more than half of all U.S. abortion patients in 2014 were in their 20s: patients aged 20–24 obtained 34% of all abortions, and patients aged 25–29 obtained 27%. This means that if we want to put an end to abortion, we must reach out to the demographic it is affecting the most. We must reach out to pregnant college students.
As a woman who found herself to be pregnant while still in college, I can attest that it is a most vulnerable time for us. In a society that pushes a pro-choice agenda, we must be there to encourage college students to choose life. Here are some tips on how you can help pregnant and parenting college students.
1. Do Not Judge: This is important as some may be compelled to judge the pregnant college student. Instead of asking why she didn’t say no, or why she didn’t use birth control, ask her how she is feeling. She may reply that she is happy, disappointed, anxious, or scared. She may reply that she wants to parent, place the child up for adoption, or have an abortion. She may reply that she is not sure of how she is feeling and she doesn’t know what to do. However she replies, do not judge but instead reply with kindness, love and support. Share that there are people who care about her and her baby, and that there are people who are willing to help. By treating her with kindness and providing emotional support, she will be more willing to open up to you, and possibly listen to advice and your stance with regards to pro-life.
2. Provide Resources On Campus: On almost all college campuses there is the student organization, Students for Life. This group of students raises awareness about the dangers of abortion, and provide resources to pregnant and parenting students. During my pregnancy, the president of the organization at my college campus met with me on a weekly basis, and provided a huge amount of support to my baby and me. The organization hosted a baby shower for me, and was always willing to attend my prenatal visits with me, if I needed them to. This organization provides a great deal of help to students, and I know they are a part of my baby’s story of life.
3. Provide Resources Off Campus: Sometimes there are not resources available for pregnant or parenting students on campus. This is where OptionLine comes into play. OptionLine provides counseling and support to women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. They have a 24 hour phone line you can call or text, and they also have a list of every crisis pregnancy center in the nation. Crisis pregnancy centers provide in person counseling to pregnant women and offer free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds. They also provide more information about adoption, offer free parenting classes, and often provide free items for the baby including but not limited to, diapers, clothes, and formula. Simply have the woman enter her zipcode on the OptionLine website, and a list of pregnancy centers closest to her location will appear.
4. Know the Law: Many pregnant college students may consider abortion simply because they think they do not have a choice. They think they have to choose the baby or school, and oftentimes school will be higher on their priority list. Some students may think they have to have an abortion due to their circumstances. They may fear being kicked out of their residence hall, losing their academic scholarship, or missing a final due to a prenatal appointment. What all of these students need to understand is that they are protected through title IX. The Pregnant Scholar website goes into more of the details of Title IX. Title IX states all of the protections that pregnant and parenting students have, including protection against discrimination. For example, a college student can not lose their sports scholarship just because they are pregnant. They can also not be forced out of their residence hall, and they are allowed to make up any assignment or test they may miss due to their pregnancy. By knowing the law, these women may be more likely to choose life, as they understand that they no longer have to choose their baby or their education. They can have both.
It is important to remember that pregnant college students are at a very vulnerable time in their lives. They are living in a society that is very pro choice, and they may think that they have no other options. By being a friend to them, and giving them hope and resources where there were previously none, you are saving a life, quite possibly you are saving two.
[Today’s guest post by Annaliese Corace is part of our paid blogging program.]