Pennsylvania Coach Under Fire for Suggesting Abortion to College Athlete

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 23, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Coach Under Fire for Suggesting Abortion to College Athlete Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
November 23, 2004

Lafayette, PA ( — A college coach is under fire for reportedly recommending abortion to a pregnant athlete.

Lafayette College track coach Julio Piazza is accused of presenting only one option when 21-year-old Larissa Bellamy revealed she was carrying an unborn child.

Bellamy told the Express-Times newspaper that Piazza told her to “make the mature decision" and have an abortion.

"My coach said he had no agenda, which is very well possible. But he’s getting paid to be a coach. He’s a coach. I’m an athlete. He’s on staff. I’m a student," Bellamy told the newspaper.

Bellamy said she felt intimidated while sitting in Piazza’s office. She said the coach never asked her how she was feeling or what she was thinking.

"He said he was keeping my options open," Bellamy told the Express-Times.

Piazza declined to speak about the issue, but the college’s athletic director, Bruce E. McCutcheon, told the newspaper, "We have a counseling center here, so if there are issues that are best brought up in that setting, that’s what they’re directed to do–and not just the coaches, all the staff at the college."

McCutcheon added that Piazza disagreed with Bellamy’s account of the incident, but Bellamy is standing behind her story.

She’s also offering some advice to other young women who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy.

"Do your homework before you make any big decisions," Bellamy told the Express-Times. "You need to really weigh your options, and it’s not a one-sided opinion from someone who says, ‘This is what you should do,’ and that’s it.

"A baby does change your life, but you don’t have to put anything on the back burner. Like my doctor said, it’s not a disease. It just means you have to be more focused," Bellamy told the newspaper.

When asked if coaches had encouraged other students at Lafayette to have abortions, McCutcheon told the Pennsylvania newspaper, "I’m not aware of anyone that’s been in a similar circumstance."

Bellamy’s son, Amari, is now two months old. She told the Express-Times that, despite the demands of motherhood, she now plans to continue her track and field career.

Pennsylvania pro-life leaders note that Bellamy’s coach could have recommended that the young woman take advantage of Real Alternatives, the state’s alternatives to abortion program.

The government-funded program provides comprehensive support to women facing unexpected pregnancies. Women can receive help by calling Real Alternatives’ toll-free hotline at 1-888-LIFE AID.

Related web sites:
Real Alternatives: