by Steven Ertelt
February 15, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Marking the anniversary of Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, pro-life advocates held a Congressional briefing on legislation that would help college women find alternatives to abortion.
Named after Anthony’s cohort Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the measure would provide grants for college and university programs that aid pregnant and parents students.
The measure is the brainchild of Feminists for Life of America, an organization that invested itself into determining why college women have the highest abortion rates in the nation and what can be done to help them avoid abortions.
In a meeting with members of Congress and Congressional staff, FFL president Serrin Foster said the need to help college women became person when an FFL board member became pregnant during graduate school.
"She found there was no family housing, affordable child care or maternity coverage in the student health plan," Foster explained. "She felt forced to drop out of school and face a lifetime of poverty or have an abortion, and miscarried under the stress.
Foster, a frequent lecturer at university campuses across the country soon realized she never saw pregnant students.
"We knew we needed to be a catalyst for change," she said.
The pro-life women’s group soon organized pregnancy resource forums doing the unheard of — bringing pro-life students and abortion advocates together to determine what could be done to help pregnant women on campus.
At the 1997 forum at Georgetown University, FFL encountered protesters outside its event, but invited them in to participate in the discussion.
Carol Day, the Director of Health Education Services from Georgetown University, told the briefing that the university soon developed housing for pregnant women, academic assistance, and referral services to a host of local agencies.
Day said Georgetown provided the "model program" and she hoped "more students and children can benefit by implementing similar programs at other colleges and universities through passage of this legislation."
And that’s what the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act would do.
Sponsored by pro-life Rep. Melissa Hart, a Pennsylvania Republican, it would establish a pilot program and grants for universities that operate pregnant and parenting student services offices. It would help college women who are pregnant, have already given birth, or are placing a child for adoption.
The bill authorizes $10 million annually for five years to provide a total of 200 grants and college must match the grant to participate in the program.
The legislation has already received bipartisan support as both Democrats and Republicans in the House have sponsored the measure.
With the programs, Foster hopes to see the abortion numbers decline as women concerned about financial and educational issue along with a pregnancy see their needs met.
"Like the early American feminists, we want to address the root causes of the problem," she told the briefing.
Related web sites:
Feminsts for Life of America – https://www.feministsforlife.org