Colleges Promote Abortion Over Pregnancy in Student Health Care Plans

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colleges Promote Abortion Over Pregnancy in Student Health Care Plans

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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
December 17, 2004

Columbia, NY ( — When it comes to providing support to students facing an unexpected pregnancy, far too many colleges are failing to make the grade.

That’s the assessment of Feminists for Life, which says that some university health plans, such as Yale University’s, provide coverage for abortion but not for giving birth.

"When students receive positive results on a pregnancy test, campus health clinic staff too often say ‘I’m sorry’ and automatically refer women to abortion clinics," said Serrin Foster of Feminists for Life. "Women need to know the rest of their choices, including single parenting, married parenting, and adoption options."

At Harvard, pro-life students can get a small rebate from the university if they don’t want their student fees used to pay for abortions.

Meanwhile, at Columbia University, a nurse practitioner told the student newspaper that most Columbia students who become pregnant choose abortion.

It’s that kind of mindset that Feminists for Life is trying to change.

Foster notes that schools regularly address “other challenges students face, like depression and sexually transmitted diseases, but bury the fact that there are pregnant and parenting students who need support."

The group’s college outreach program was inspired by a former board member who shared her story of pregnancy during grad school.

"Without housing, day care or maternity coverage, it didn’t seem like I had much of a free choice," the woman told Foster and the Feminists for Life board. As a result, the woman miscarried under the stress.

"That story haunted me. We had to do something," Foster said.

Foster noted that not enough colleges and universities include maternity coverage in their student health insurance plans, but “all too often we receive reports that schools provide money or loans to pay for student abortions."

Foster said universities also need parental leave for not only students, but faculty and staff as well.

"Not only is a visible pregnant student something rare, so is a pregnant professor on the tenure track," Foster said.

Feminists for Life’s college outreach program provides practical resources for pregnant and parenting students so that they can complete their education. The organization also challenges the assumption that pregnancy represents a no-win situation for both women and men.

"Local pregnancy resource centers need to send staff to meet with campus health personnel and offer annual open house events before school — just like abortion clinic staff do," Foster added.

Feminists for Life has developed a campus clinic kit for pregnancy resource centers including materials to deliver at a meeting.

The Feminists for Life program involves college administrators, pregnancy resource center staffs, pro-life activists, and others who are willing to address the root causes of abortion.

Kathryn Getek, the former president of the Ivy League Coalition for Life, said, “Feminists for Life’s strength is in articulating something known but rarely spoken: being pro-life is as much about respecting women and equality as it is about protecting the unborn."

Telling, also, is the reaction from Planned Parenthood to the college project.

The nation’s largest abortion business calls it the "newest and most challenging concept in anti-choice campus organizing" and admits it could have a "profound" effect on college campuses.

Meanwhile, across the nation, other programs are targeting college students, hoping to give them the help they need to make life-affirming decisions for themselves and their children.

In Pennsylvania, the groundbreaking, state-funded abortion alternatives program known as Real Alternatives has at least ten college-centered centers. The centers offer comprehensive support for pregnant women and their children–everything from parenting classes to play clothes for children.

"Colleges must stop acting like the only acceptable students are single and childless," said Feminists for Life’s Foster. "Why must education end when parenting begins? There are parents who have children before they go to school, others who marry and want children–often during grad school. Why can’t they do both?"

Related web sites:
Feminists for Life of America –