When pregnant women need more help to choose life

By Kersley Fitzgerald

Having a college degree increases income and decreases unemployement. So why do we abandon women who get pregnant before they finish their degrees?

Part 1: The Feminist Movement and Abortion
Part 2: The History of Abortion and Feminism

Abortion advocates pit women against our children. But lack of emotional or financial support is the real enemy.

Feminists for Life believes that women should not feel forced to sacrifice our children for an education or a career.

If abortion became legal and prevalent because women were tricked into thinking they were the ones who needed to change to fit the culture, what is the alternative? We're seeing it now with such things as flex time and child care in the workplace. But FFL discovered a large group of women who need help when they get pregnant: college students.

The college years typically coincide with the ages at which a woman is most fertile. The newfound freedom combined with a still-developing sense of personal accountability lead to quite a few college students finding themselves pregnant. And, in the past, it led to quite a few abortions—20-44% of all abortions are performed on college students. FFL frequently held talks at college campuses about feminism and abortion, but it took a while before they realized how few pregnant college students they had seen at the events.

After talking with students the reason was obvious—there are very few support systems in place to help young women continue in college after they become pregnant. Sounds like a no-brainer. But consider this: student health insurance often doesn't cover maternity care. Once a student gives birth, the class schedule becomes impossible without childcare, and housing becomes problematic—they can't live in the dorms, but they have even less time for a job to afford off-campus housing. And while Planned Parenthood is a staple at most college campuses, for some reason crisis pregnancy centers aren't.

Colleges are stepping up. Some have dorms for single parents. Many offer childcare. Since FFL started working with colleges, abortions among students have dropped 30%.

…students are pro-abortion not because they don't believe a fetus is a human life, but because they're terrified. - Tom Hoopes, Crisis magazine, "A Day in the Life of Serrin Foster"

I try not to think of the unborn. When I do, I become pro-life. - College student

I went to a Catholic college. My sophomore year, Loni, an ROTC classmate who lived across the hall from me, got pregnant. This was serious. As a Catholic, she didn't want to abort, but as an ROTC cadet…at that time you couldn't be a pregnant ROTC cadet.

It wasn't the Catholic university that stepped in to help their pregnant student, it was Maddy, another ROTC cadet. "Have this baby and know that I will support you in every way you need." Loni had her baby. She dropped out of ROTC. Her dreams of an Air Force career were over. But Maddy helped Loni have her son and stay in school. Loni finished her degree and found a loving man to complete her family. It was really hard, and I am still amazed at her sacrifice and endurance.

Feminists for Life are not a Christian organization. They have no official policy on birth control. They both cajole Planned Parenthood to make options known and use PP's research to see where they need to work next. For a long time I have shied away from the public debate of abortion. I don't believe picketing clinics addresses the real issue of helping pregnant women. And I have dear friends who have had abortions.

What attracted me to FFL was an uncompromising dedication to life combined with a holistic consideration of the issues. Abortion and the culture that encourages it are symptoms of the fallen world. FFL's motto is "Women deserve better"—and they do. Not just better support from society to be able to have and raise their kids, but better support from the church. My experience has been if a girl in the church gets pregnant, there is no offer of help. Instead, she is shut away for fear of causing irreparable damage to other girls' virtue. This not only encourages abortion in the church, I find it both lazy and heartbreaking. Lazy because it lets parents ignore the issue instead of engaging with their kids, and heartbreaking because every life should be celebrated.

So there you go. Here are a bunch of nonsectarian feminists making it easier for women to choose life. How can the church take their example? And what's stopping us?

Image: Feminists for Life poster

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Published 5-14-13