Not many students these days can say they graduated from college debt-free, but Janel Lanae Young did while facing more obstacles than most.
Young became pregnant when she was just 15 years old, LiveAction News reports. She said her mother physically abused her and others in her life sexually abused her.
WCHM TV in Columbus reports Young was taken away from her alcoholic mother and pulled in and out of nine different foster homes and eight different high schools. She said she tried to commit suicide three times.
“Growing up in a home like that taught me early on that God and myself was all that I had and that I could not trust or rely on others for anything, even the things that they were responsible for,” she said.
Faced with a teenage pregnancy along with everything else, Young easily could have had an abortion. Her story is the type that abortion advocates often use to argue that women need abortion to succeed.
Young chose to parent her daughter, Malena, instead; and today, she is proving to women everywhere that they can overcome even the toughest obstacles to succeed.
“And for me to get pregnant within the first month of my freshman year of high school, I just felt like I went through all these things to hurt, like I was just born to hurt,” she told the news station. “But over time I really think that I got pregnant so God could show me unconditional love, like real love.”
Her daughter, Malena, has been a constant encouragement to her. Every day, the 7-year-old writes her notes to tell her how much she loves her, according to the report.
With the help of a caring social worker, Young went on to attend Ohio State University through the Young Scholars Program, which provides a free education to low-income students who otherwise may not have the opportunity, according to the report.
She recently graduated with a degree in social work and plans to help girls like her who are in the foster care system, the report states.
“Abortion does not need to be the answer; a child oftentimes even helps a mother get through her situation, as it has with Young,” Live Action writer Rebecca Downs said. “Young and her daughter are living proof that women are strong and can make it through difficult situations.”
Other young mothers have shared similar stories that prove women do not need abortions to succeed. A college freshman named Rachel shared how she became pregnant with twins and feared that she would have to give up her plans to become a doctor. She told Students for Life that many of her peers encouraged her to have an abortion. But Rachel persevered, gave birth and graduated within four years. Two years later, she completed her master’s degree and enrolled in a PhD program.
“Every day, I thank God that I have my boys to share in joy, love, happiness, discovery, and laughs,” she said. “I am thankful that I have been able to pursue this journey with my precious twin boys by my side; I cannot imagine my life any other way.”
Stories like Rachel’s and Janel’s demonstrate how babies are worth fighting for and how women are strong enough to overcome any obstacle in their way.