by Steven Ertelt
March 31, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The House of Representatives on Thursday approved an amendment to a college education bill that would help students find abortion alternatives. The amendment is essentially the gist of a bill pro-life groups floated earlier this year to provide practical resources for pregnant and parenting students on campus.
For years, college students have had the highest number of abortions of any age range of women. When students become pregnant, they frequently have abortions out of a fear that having a baby would force them to sacrifice their education or career plans.
The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hart, a Pennsylvania Republican, is designed to alleviate those concerns.
“My amendment will provide services like affordable on-campus childcare and maternity coverage in their student health plans so they can concentrate on being good parents and good students," Hart said.
Hart said that about 27 percent of all undergraduates are parents and 34 percent of all graduate students are parents.
The amendment is designed to fund resources that should help college students realize abortion isn’t the solution. It funds child care, maternity coverage in student health insurance plans, family housing, telecommuting programs, and additional financial aid.
The idea behind the amendment, originally the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services bill, came from Feminists for Life of America.
FFLA has held dozens of pregnancy workshops at colleges across the nation and talked with students about the kind of resources they need to feel more comfortable with carrying a pregnancy to term rather than having an abortion.
Serrin Foster, president of the organization, told LifeNews.com in a statement, "Women won’t feel driven to choose between their education and career plans and their children.”
She said Hart’s amendment "will help pregnant students who feel they have no one to turn to, couples who would like to have children in school, women who feel adoption is the most empowering choice for them, and women on the tenure track who want to balance work and family."
Hart pointed to a study showing the direct need for her amendment.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a research arm of Planned Parenthood, surveyed women to find out why they had an abortion. Over 70 percent of college-aged women cited their fear that having a child would interfere with their education or career.
"This legislation will help women choose life by lessening the financial strain they will feel by being both mothers and students," Hart concluded.
The House of Representatives added Hart’s amendment to the College Access and Opportunity Act, and it approved the final bill on a 221-199 vote. President Bush supports the legislation.