This bill requires universities to comply with Title IX, inform pregnant women about their rights on campus

Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) has introduced the Pregnant Students' Rights Act.

Title IX, which prevents discrimination based on sex, extends protections to pregnant students to allow expecting mothers to continue their academic pursuits.

Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA) has introduced the Pregnant Students' Rights Act

If enacted into law, the bill would mandate that all college students be informed of all pregnancy resources, including all resources available on campus for supporting expecting mothers who are continuing their degrees.

“College students who are pregnant or may become unexpectedly pregnant deserve to know all of the resources available to them, and it is unacceptable that so many are told that abortion is their only option. Young women should feel empowered to choose life and create the best future for both themselves and their child," Hinson stated in a press release. 

The bill, which is currently before the Committee on Education and Labor, states that 27.6% of abortions in the U.S. are performed for college-aged women. 

This figure is supported by a 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study

Per the bill text, colleges would be required to disseminate information about providing life-saving resources to students through campus-wide emails, written sections in handbooks, and student orientations. Universities would also be required to make information regarding pregnancy options publicly available through the school website.

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"An academic disparity exists because of the lack of resources, support, and notifications available for female college students who do not wish to receive an abortion or who carry their unborn baby to term," the bill states.

Title IX, which prevents discrimination based on sex, extends protections to pregnant students to allow expecting mothers to continue their academic pursuits.

All public and private schools are required to comply with Title IX stipulations, thus concreting into law an opportunity for women to both pursue parenthood and a degree.

Under Title IX, schools are prohibited from excluding expecting mothers from class or extracurriculars. Reasonable adjustments must also be made to accommodate expecting mothers including larger desk spaces, elevator access, and excused absences due to child-related care. Additional time and extensions must also be provided to expecting mothers due to pregnancy-related conflicts.

[RELATED: Echoing campus leftists, Biden uses term 'birthing people' in his first budget proposal]

Additionally, expecting mothers cannot be required to participate in courses or programs designated for pregnant students. However, students can choose to opt-in.

The bill has to date been endorsed by numerous pro-life organizations including Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life Action, Family Research Council, Feminists for Life, and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Feminists for Life President Serrin M. Foster told Campus Reform, "During my 28 years working on campus with administrators and students, I have found that many students do not know that they can stay in school if they become pregnant. During orientation, administrators discuss STDs, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide — but pregnancy is rarely mentioned."

She continued, "Students can't find help on the university website. Some pregnant students believe incorrectly that they would be thrown out of school or that they can't remain in the dorm while pregnant, so they go to an abortion clinic. And frequently, health center staff will refer to an abortion clinic but rarely to a pregnancy resource center."

Foster shares her expertise in Recommendations for Best Practices at Colleges and Universities Serving Pregnant and Parenting Students, and further stated, "it would be enormously helpful to require that all administrators know that pregnant students have rights."

"This is why Rep. Ashley Hinson's proposed legislation is essential," she said. "Women have a right to know. Women deserve better®."

Students for Life Action Government Affairs Coordinator Brooke Paz told Campus Reform the organization implored Hinson's office to discuss the challenges parenting students face on college campuses.

Paz recalled one student who chose to abort her baby due to fear of losing her place on the volleyball team and putting her academic and career goals in jeopardy. Another, she stated, lost her financial aid after failing classes due to giving birth during finals week. 

"Colleges tend to focus solely on educating students about their rights should they experience sexual harassment or need accommodations for disabilities. However, students and faculty alike are often unaware of the reasonable accommodations, support systems, and resources pregnant and parenting students must be provided according to the law," she said. "Pregnant and parenting students are a severely underserved and overlooked population on college campuses, leading many women to seek abortion not because they want to, but because they feel that's their only choice." 

Additionally, Associate Director and Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops told Campus Reform that the organization supports the bill because "it aligns well with our respect life vision and priorities."

"Our respect life vision includes both ensuring that every human life is recognized and protected in law and that pregnant moms have all the support they need to care for their unborn and born children," he said. "This vision is at the core of the Catholic Church’s very long history of providing care and support to people in need, including and especially pregnant and parenting mothers."

He continued, "A critical part of realizing this vision is ensuring that pregnant moms know what their rights are related to carrying their children to term and what support is available for them and their children. This is why we support the Safeguarding Educational Opportunities for Pregnant Students Act." 

Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council told Campus Reform “We hope that because of the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act, expectant moms will know that they do not have to choose between their education and their child’s life.  Instead, expectant moms will be empowered to succeed with their child alongside them. "

She continued, "Our hope is that this will transform the culture of college campuses into one that is affirming of the decision to choose life!  Family Research Council is supportive of all legislation that actually seeks to empower moms and provide them with the support they need.”

Campus Reform has contacted every organization mentioned in this article and Hinson for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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