Pregnant in College? Here are 5 Helpful Tips!

Pregnant and in college? This video offers some helpful tips for things that you can do to make your semester more manageable. Check it out! Questions? Comments? Contact our Pregnant on Campus Coordinator, Beth O’Malley.

Teen Parents and HS Yearbooks: What’s your opinion?

In a two-page yearbook spread entitled, “I’m working a double shift,” Mesa High School featured their school’s teen parents with their children. Pictures of the young parents and their children were paired with a description about how difficult it is for young parents to balance parenthood and education.

Here is the Chanel 12 News report of the controversy:

In response to the feature, the community is divided over whether the feature was appropriate for the young audience.

Some parents and community members are in an uproar. In their opposition, they claim that such photos glamorize teen parenting and that such images are inappropriate content for a high school yearbook.

Mesa Public Schools spokeswoman Helen Hollands said, “A yearbook is to commemorate the achievements of the students, particularly the senior class… Probably this would not fall into that category.” However, she did affirm that the school fully supports the students’ academic accomplishments.

Chaunie Brusie, author of Tiny Blue Lines, holds a different opinion. She says:

Recognizing teen pregnancy isn’t the same as encouraging it. … recognizing it is not the same as encouraging it, or even condoning it. Once a teen is pregnant or has decided to take on parenting, he or she deserves to be commended, not condemned, and it serves no purpose to demand that they hide in shame simply for trying to do their best. Talking about the issue of teenage pregnancy might even help parents and their children have a more open and honest discussion about what they want out of their lives. And there is no shame in that.

 

What do you think? Does 2 pages out of 255 pages “glamorize” teen pregnancy? Is it inappropriate to feature teen parents in a high school yearbook?  Is there a better way to address this issue? Voice your opinion in the Comments Section.

 

Mesa High School's yearbook spread on teen parents

Photo Credit: Fox News Screenshot

 

 

It’s a GIRL: An unexpected adoption story

Ashley and Charles Baldwin got the surprise of their life when they learned that they would soon be the parents of a baby girl! Here is the story of two pro-life activists who have gone above and beyond to help a young mother and to save her baby girl:

Baldwin FamilyWe received a phone call two weeks ago that has forever changed our lives. We were informed that there was a 15-year-old girl who was pregnant and seriously considering abortion. I was put in contact with her immediately and I could just hear her trembling with fear through the phone. She has big goals for her life and a painful home life that left her feeling like abortion was the only option.

We visited two different Pregnancy Resource Centers. After our visit to the first one, she was still leaning towards abortion.

I took her to lunch, and then to the mall to pick out some bigger clothes since her cute little bump was starting to show. Charles and I prayed fervently for a miracle, that God would just reveal to her how precious her little baby is, who was growing inside of her, and that everything I said to her would be from Him. I asked her to remember that at 25 weeks, her baby was already fully formed, and only need to get bigger and develop her lungs a little bit more.

After more counsel at Corona Life Services, and an ultrasound, she had a change of heart.

“God is in control, you are just His vessel” is all I remember saying to myself as she invited me back to the counseling room to reveal her decision: “I have decided to let the baby live”.

My eyes filled with tears of joy for the precious baby on the ultrasound screen. I was happy enough then, but then came the announcement: ‘I want you and Charles to be the parents.’

Grateful, blessed, undeserving, excited, nervous, these are just a few words to describe how I felt in that moment.

When I got home that night I shared the exciting news with Charles and we both began praying fervently for the Lord’s wisdom and discernment. We understand that there is a possibility our birth mom could change her mind after the baby is born. We know that the adoption process is a long road to travel, but we are moving forward with the adoption and pursuing our daughter as the Lord has provided.

The Bible says that “Children are a heritage from the Lord” and they are a gift (Psalm 127:3). Being involved in the pro-life movement for close to 10 years now, and being a Mama to a cute 1 year old little girl, I know how blessed I am to be chosen as this baby’s mother. We are just so honored and grateful that He has entrusted us with adopting and raising our precious baby girl due this August. It is a privilege to watch how God is orchestrating the whole thing!

How can you help?

Baldwin Family 2Baby Stella Kate Baldwin is due in just 3 months! As the Baldwins are preparing to welcome Stella into their home, here is what you can do to help:

  1. Pray. Pray for the Baldwin family, for the birth mother, and for their baby girl. Pray for the young birth mother as she courageously carries her daughter. Pray for peace in her decision to lovingly place her child in the arms of the Baldwins. Pray also that the Baldwin family are blessed with all the resources and support that they need to care for their growing family.
  2. Financial support. This unexpected adoption will cost the Baldwins as much as $7,000.Despite the gracious pro bono services of a pro-life attorney, the family will have to cover the cost of the homestudy, paperwork, court fees, background checks, and medical and personal costs associated with the birth mother. If you feel compelled to financially support this young couple, please consider donating to their campaign. Click here to learn how you can contribute.
  3. Share this story. Social media is a powerful tool! Share this story on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. so that others may reach out to support this family.

Thank you for your support of this family! Every prayer, kind word, and generous gift is appreciated.

Questions? Comments? Please contact Ashley Baldwin to find out more ways that you can support the Baldwin family.

 

Abuse, Violence, and Abortion: What can we do?

64 percent feel pressured- Online for LifeWhile abortion advocates spin the tale of “women’s rights” and “reproductive justice,” they have to knowingly ignore the truth to advance their agenda. More often than not, abortion decisions are not made freely or willingly; they are made out of fear and desperation. Despite years of slogans and rallies, legal abortion has not freed women. Abortion has opened the door for the exploitation and abuse of women.

According to a 2004 study by Rue et al., 64% of women who had abortions reported that they had felt pressured or coerced by others. In support of this data, you can find dozens of stories in the document “Forced Abortion in America” that detail how abortion has been used to manipulate and further harm women. For these women, life for their children was never an option. Abortion was even used to mask the abuse and violence. Here are just a few stories of women who have been exploited by legal abortion:

  •  In Arizona, a 13-year-old girl was sexually abused by her 23-year-old foster brother. He took her for an abortion, but Planned Parenthood did not report the abuse until he brought her back for a 2nd abortion after abusing her for another 6 months.
  • In Baltimore, the father of three teenaged girls repeatedly raped the girls over the course of 9 years and covered up the rapes with at least 10 abortions.
  • In Greensboro, Tanika Fox was shot in the head by her boyfriend. He admitted to killing her because she refused to have an abortion and he didn’t want to pay child support.

What can we do?

“Being pro-life” is more than saving the child. It is also about protecting and loving the mother. As activists and educators, we need to be well prepared to handle a variety of situations that we may face on our college campuses.

Unfortunately, safety is often overlooked by college students. We think that we are invincible! However, situations of abuse and harm are all too common. As college pro-life activists, we must be mindful of a variety of resources that can help women. Knowledge of such resources may come in handy for our peers who may be struggling not only with an unexpected pregnancy but also with an abusive relationship. In addition to your pregnancy help resources, your group should consider adding local resources to help women in abusive situations.

Here are two tools that may help a friend get out of an abusive relationship or protect them from harmful situations:

  • ASPIRE News: Dr. Phil’s wife released a brilliant new IOS & Android app for people in an abusive relationship. Aspire News looks like a basic news app. However, when you go to the “Help” section of the app, it leads you to domestic violence resources. This app also has a “Go Button” which alerts local authorities and emergency contacts if you’re in a compromising situation. The informational website has an “emergency exit” at the bottom. if you click it or press ESC on your keyboard, it will immediately close the page, but open a blank google tab and the weather channel in another.
  • Kitestring: Kitestring is a safecall service that may be helpful if you are going on a trip, out to a club, or to a place where you may not feel entirely comfortable (whether that be due to the setting or the people). This app checks up to make sure that you are safe after your event. If you do not return or respond to the check in, the app will alert your emergency contacts. You can even set up a “duress message” for emergency situations. (This may also be a great tool for parents!)

These two tools and other similar resources could save lives.  Sharing these tools may help a friend in need– or even you– escape a dangerous situation.  Please share these tools with your student group, post them as resources on your group Facebook or website, and advertise them on campus.

You Are Strong

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

 

This article refers to the following sources:

Summer Break: Time for a Vacation from Outreach?

Summer is here! Finally, you can enjoy 3 months of glorious sunshine, zero homework assignments, and carefree days! Just. In. Time. Time to take a break from pro-life activism, volunteering at your local PRC, planning the group events

Now, I’m not saying that you must abandon all your summertime joy and relaxation! However, keep in mind that the abortion industry does not take a summer vacation. All year round, women find themselves in unplanned pregnancy situations. This isn’t neatly packaged between August and May! Women need your love and support during the summer too. Although we are certainly tempted to sit back and work on our tans (or soothe our burns), we need to continue our efforts to provide support and resources to families in our local communities.

What can you do to stay active over the summer?

  1. Volunteer at a local pregnancy resource center.
  2. Organize a community baby shower.
  3. Establish a consistent sidewalk presence at the local abortion clinic.
  4. Create a unique resource guide for pregnant and parenting students at your school.
  5. Plan and strategize for your pro-life group’s Fall semester

These are just a few ideas for what you can do to stay involved over the summer. Check out more ideas on our Simple and Advanced Activities pages. You can also check out other pro-life events and activities on College.studentsforlife.org. Best of luck on your summer outreach!

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

 

World’s Toughest Job

Job Position: Director of Operations

Requirements:

  • Great mobility
  • Constantly on your feet
  • High stamina
  • 135+ hours per week.
  • Excellent negotiation and interpersonal skill
  • Preferred skills in medicine, finance, and culinary art
  • No breaks available
  • No holiday
  • No time to sleep
  • 365 days a year

 

Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month: What can you do?

Teen Mom- Black

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, nearly 3 in 10 girls will become pregnant before the age of 20. In 2012, 305,388 teens (ages 15-19) gave birth. Meanwhile, about 18% of women obtaining abortions are teenagers (i.e. about 200,000). Due to these high numbers, many people are rightly concerned about the need for education and resources for these young women. How do we prevent teen pregnancy from happening in the first place? How do we teach teens to be responsible in their relationships so that they may make healthy decisions (for their bodies and their hearts)? How do we provide resources that will support a teen in her decision to choose life for her child?

May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month. This month, college students are encouraged to get involved in efforts to educate our younger peers. We encourage you to focus on abstinence education and to teach your younger peers the importance of mutual respect in relationships. Here are ideas for what you can do to raise awareness in your community:

  • Talk to your younger family members about their relationships. Remember: This doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation!They may prefer having this conversation with you than with an adult. Start by asking, “How are you and ____ doing?” and let the conversation flow from there. Encourage them to commit to respecting themselves and their girlfriend/boyfriend. Support them in their good decisions. Offer loving advice for those who may be involved in unhealthy decisions. Last but not least, be a good role model for your younger siblings and cousins.
  • Educate your younger peers about healthy relationships. Offer to provide an abstinence or healthy relationships presentation at your church’s youth group meeting. Teens will appreciate hearing this advice coming from someone closer to their age. Check out our RA programs- Healthy Relationships and Healthy Relationships II-Conflict Resolution-  for ideas for your presentation.
  • Invite a sex education speaker to your local youth group to talk about abstinence and healthy relationships. You can find our recommended speakers here. Contact preferred speakers to learn more about their presentations and to inquire about availability.
  • Distribute “Dispelling the Myths of Safe Sex” cards at a youth event in the community or at your church. Active pro-life students can email Missy to obtain free cards!
  • Promote pregnancy resources for teens, such as pregnancy resource centers or teen maternity homes. You can do this online, in your presentations, or even by creating flyers to post around your community. Find local pregnancy resource centers at OptionLine.org, and search for local maternity homes in your state or region’s 2-1-1 database.
  • Spread awareness via social media. Use your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to spread awareness with a combination of clever and informative posts. (See examples below.) For more information and stats on teen pregnancy, check out The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. For information about STDs/STIs, check out LoveFacts.

By encouraging these conversations and programs, we can do our part to prevent teen pregnancies and to consequently reduce abortions among teenagers. Whatever you do, don’t be shy! Get out there and do at least 1 thing this month that spreads awareness on this topic.Your efforts could make a difference in the lives of teens in your community.

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

Reaching out to Post-Abortive Peers

Love is Greater- Online for LifeOn a college campus, it is an unfortunate reality that many of your peers have experiences with abortion. Research shows  that 44% of all abortions are performed on college aged women (ages 19 to 24); this is nearly 500,000 college-aged women each year. With so many of our peers recovering from abortion, we need to be ready to face difficult conversations about abortion and to help our friends find healing and hope.

You may not know what to say. You may feel scared to discuss this. However, here are some suggestions for your interactions with a friend who has experienced abortion.

(Remember: The aftermath of abortion is not limited to the mother. There are family members and friends who are deeply affected by this decision and who may also be grieving. Whether or not they participated in the decision-making process, these men and women may also need healing and support. )

 Ask Permission

Before asking questions or offering advice, ask permission. Abortion is a very emotional and personal experience, and some peers may not be ready to talk about their experiences. You should always ask before assuming that they are ready to talk or that they even want suggestions for support. You may start with something simple like “Do you want to talk about it?” Asking permission shows that you respect that person’s space and privacy, but it allows for the opportunity to open this conversation. If your friend is not ready to talk about it, assure them that you will always be there for them to listen, to support, and to help them find resources (if desired). If they don’t want to talk with you, you may also suggest that they talk to someone else (e.g. a family member, friend, priest/pastor, counselor, etc.).

Listen

Be patient, and listen. Let your friend share their story. Let them talk for as long or as short as they need. You may be eager to jump in with resources. Wait. Your friend is sharing a very personal experience. They are trusting you with their pain, their memories, their healing, etc. Listen to them. There will be time to suggest resources and support, but you need to build trust and learn their needs before getting to this point.

Don’t Assume

You may think that you know everything about your friend, and in truth, you know very little. Hold back from making assumptions about the influences in their decisions, the people involved, and the aftermath. Ask questions when needed to help you better understand, but don’t expect answers. Your friend may not be ready to discuss some issues. Be gentle with your questions, and think before you ask.

Be compassionate

When talking to your peer, remember compassion. Sometimes people feel frustration when faced with a friend who has had an abortion. They cannot understand why the friend would have chosen an abortion or even ended up in that situation.  While these feelings may occur, remember that love is always the best response. It is easy to stand on one’s principles when you’re not the one faced with the life-altering consequences of pregnancy. It is easy to say, “I would never have an abortion,” until faced with a pregnancy that creates a crisis situation in your life.  Always be prepared to show the compassion and avoid being judgmental. The last thing that this person needs is judgment or anger. They need love.

Forgiveness

Many men and women struggle to forgive themselves, and they may also reject the forgiveness of others. They may have chosen an abortion knowing it was wrong, and because of this, they believe that they are unforgivable.Or they may blame themselves for situations that they couldn’t control or overcome.As a friend, you may be that needed voice of forgiveness. Help them in their healing, and remind them that there is hope after abortion. You may also recommend healing programs, such as Rachel’s Vineyard, or even professional counseling. Through these programs, a person can come to forgive themselves and to heal. 

improve your outreach

Serving post-abortive men and women can be a challenging task. To better prepare yourself for this ministry, you can find specialized trainings. Training is vital in order to provide help and encouragement to those individuals without causing more pain. We encourage you to continue to learn better ways to engage in this ministry, and we hope that you will take take to educate yourselves on after abortion grief.

  • Learn more about reaching out to peers who have experienced abortion. Check out our Post-Abortive Outreach page.
  • Learn more about After Abortion Grief and the specific symptoms which are unique to this trauma.

After Abortion Support & Counseling

Are you hurting from abortion? Or do you have a friend who may need additional support? Please check out these organizations that offer after abortion support and counseling. 

 

You are not Alone- Pregnant on Campus

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

Great Pregnancy Outreach Resources (FREE!)

Effective activism and outreach require the right tools! Our materials need to reach a vulnerable audience with a message of hope, and they have to have good information to guide a peer to resources and support. Check out these great outreach tools that you can use on campus or in your local community. Contact Beth to find out what other free resources are available to assist your pro-life student group.

Please note: SFLA distributes free resources to active pro-life students or student groups only. Pro-life organizations, community groups, and adult activists may order these resources using the provided links.

 

This is not your only choiceThis is Not Your Only Choice

This street mag, published by Human Life Alliance, is a handy size with awesome content. The magazine includes information on fetal development, abortion, adoption, and a woman’s legal rights. It also details the stories of women who have been through these experiences. Last but not least, this magazine includes resources for pregnant, parenting, and post-abortive women.

How this tool can be used: Tabling, abortion clinic outreach, distribution at events, peer-to-peer support.

  •  Click here to order Human Life Alliance “This is Not Your Only Choice” street mags.
  • If you are a student, email Beth to receive FREE copies!

 

 

Car Window Sign

Candle in the Window- Car signThis pink car sign was created by Candle in the Window. It reads, “Ask me for help. I CARE!” On the back, there is a listing of resources to readily provide information and support for someone who sees your sign. This is a great outreach tool to add to your car window. You never know who may see it!

How this tool can be used: Place in your vehicle, in the window of Campus Ministry, on your dorm room door or window.

  • Click here to order Candle in the Window car signs.
  • If you are a student, email Beth to receive FREE signs.

 

Adoption vs. Abortion

Bethany Christian- Card- PromoWhat are the similarities and differences between adoption and abortion? Thanks to Bethany Christian services, we have a great card to explain these answers. Use this awesome outreach card to explain the wonderful choice of adoption and to show how adoption is a “quality-of-life decision” for parents facing unplanned pregnancies.

How this tool can be used: Tabling, abortion clinic outreach, distribution at events, peer-to-peer support.

  • Click here to order these Bethany Christian cards online
  • If you are a student, email Beth to receive FREE cards.

 

Adoption vs. ParentingBethany Christian- Card 2- Promo

We know that there are 2 positive life-affirming options for women in unplanned pregnancy situations. How are they similar? How are they different? Share Bethany Christian Services’ “Adoption vs. Parenting” card to explain to outreach to women on your campus and in your community.

How this tool can be used: Tabling, abortion clinic outreach, distribution at events, peer-to-peer support.

  • Click here to order these Bethany Christian cards online
  • If you are a student, email Beth to receive FREE cards.

 

Raising Kids on a ShoestringRaising Kids- FFL- Promo

Raising Kids on a Shoestring is a great publication to share with your health center, campus ministry, or residence life. This guide presents resources, solutions, and support for expecting and parenting peers. “We’ve never said that being pregnant, placing a child for adoption, or parenting is easy, but we are going to do our best to make it easier,” said Serrin M. Foster, President of Feminists for Life. 

How this tool can be used: Distribution to departments on campus, tabling, distribution at events, peer-to-peer support.

  • Click here to order these guides through Feminists for Life.
  • If you are a student, email Beth to receive FREE guides.

 

 

Do you need more outreach resources? Check out our Social Media and Flyers pages for downloadable images for cyberspace and campus outreach.

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you would like to access or recommend a resource, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.