2017 West Coast Pregnant on Campus Group of the Year

Located in the “Late-Term Abortion Capital” of the country, University of New Mexico students are daily faced with a community that supports and even encourages abortion. And yet, despite the challenges of this environment, Students for Life UNM have persisted and thrived in their efforts to bring life-affirming, empowering options and resources to women on their campus. The group’s Pregnant on Campus Initiative has been welcomed by the student community and departments on campus, and has repeatedly captured the local media’s attention over the past 3 years.

This past year, Students for Life UNM has hosted numerous events to support pregnant and parenting students, including:

  • Valentine’s Day, Share the Love: Passing out as many as 75 roses, pregnancy tests, and PRC information packets
  • Mother’s Day “Chari-Tea”: A classy tea party for women and mothers to raise money for their local PRC
  • Pregnant and Parenting Student Support Night: A discussion panel to address pregnant and parenting student issues
  • Give Back Christmas: Encouraging UNM students to donate to local organizations that support the community
  • AND MORE!

This group has been instrumental in helping students choose life and complete their degrees. They helped save 2 babies on campus and at least 10 babies in the local community. They even worked with a local university to help a new student mom graduate a month early, and further celebrated her by hosting a baby shower!

Last but not least, Students for Life UNM is responsible for introducing and passing 5 Student Government resolutions, including:

  1. Diaper changing stations: To be installed in every building in both genders’ bathrooms
  2. Mom-to-be Parking: For moms in their 3rd trimester
  3. Parental Leave for New Student Parents: For both mom and dad!
  4. Family Friendly” Student Study Lounge
  5. Equal Access to Options: Adding life-affirming resources to their school website

This group is an incredible testament to the compassionate and effective outreach of the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. We are proud to honor UNM Students for Life as our 2017 Pregnant on Campus Group of the Year!

 

This post was contributed by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director. To get your student group involved in our Initiative, please contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator.

 

Everybody Gets a Diaper Deck!

Where it all began

babychangingstationsonline-comIn March 2015, we shared with you Ashton Kutcher’s campaign to increase support for dads. Ashton started a Change.org petition which received over 104,000 supporters. In the petition, he shared:

“As a new dad, I recently learned an unfortunate reality about changing diapers while out in public with a child. Almost all public changing tables are in women’s bathrooms, which makes it nearly impossible to find a table that’s accessible to dads. As crazy as it sounds, many stores don’t give dads the option to change their babies’ diapers. It’s 2015, families are diverse, and it is an injustice to assume it’s only a woman’s job to handle changing diapers. This assumption is gender stereotyping and companies should be supporting all parents that shop at their stores equally – no matter their gender. Changing tables in men’s rooms will be a tiny step in the long process of rectifying the legacy of gender discrimination, but it’s a step we need to take. Dads, like myself, want to participate equally in the child care process and our society should support that.”

The petition succeeded! It opened up a dialogue with Costco and Target to increase accessibility to these resources. Costco promised to provide Family Restroom options in new warehouses, and Target promised to include diaper changing stations (aka diaper decks) in women’s, men’s and family restrooms in new stores.

Government Action

Our politicians must have noticed this change in conversation. Representative David Cicilline introduced the BABIES Act on April 29, 2016. This act became law on October 10, 2016. Here’s what it provides:

Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act

This bill requires male and female restrooms in a public building to be equipped with baby changing facilities that the General Services Administration determines are physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate.

Such requirement shall be subject to any reasonable accommodations that may be made for individuals in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Such requirement shall be inapplicable to a restroom in a public building that: (1) is not available for public use, or (2) contains clear and conspicuous signage indicating where a male or female restroom is located within the same section or corridor of such building.

In a statement on his website, Rep. David Cicillline (sponsor) stated:

“Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers, and it’s important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible. With this new law now in effect, Social Security offices, Post Office buildings, and courthouses will be more accommodating for working moms and dads in Rhode Island and across the country.

I thank President Obama for moving swiftly to sign this commonsense proposal into law, and I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress for coming together to get the job done. This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve.”

Prior to this law, there had been zero federal laws regarding diaper changing tables. Now to be clear, the BABIES Act will only impact bathrooms in government-owned or government-financed buildings (e.g. public libraries, court houses). But it is a first step toward reducing the indignity that parents frequently face when trying to care for their babies in bathroom stalls. However, we hope to see these actions set a positive example for our communities and local business owners.

Changing College Campuses

Thanks to this new legislation, we are already seeing a change on college campuses! This Wednesday (October 12th), University of New Mexico student leader, Sade Patterson, introduced her resolution to Associated Students of UNM senators to challenge the school to provide diaper changing stations in all public restrooms on campus. The resolution referenced New Mexico’s HB 538, a law which requires that “baby diaper-changing stations be equally available to men and women in restroom facilities in a place of public accommodation.” And with the recent passing of the BABIES Act, it is no surprise that this resolution passed.

sade-unm-proposal-passed

EVERYBODY GETS A DIAPER DECK

Let’s just say that our Pregnant on Campus team is a little (*okay, super) excited to see these changing attitudes and action sweeping the country on behalf of parents everywhere. We encourage your group to take up the charge as well by proposing new diaper changing stations for your school. See our activity guide here: Diaper Changing Stations.

Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator for support and advice as you push forward your proposal.

oprah-you-get-a-diaper-deck

 

 

This post was contributed by Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director. If you would like to share your group success or a personal story, please contact Beth at brahal@studentsforlife.org

Read our previous post on this issue:

Ashton Kutcher’s Crusade