Pregnant on Campus program brings support, aid to US colleges

By Michelle Bauman

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Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life.

For the past year, a nationwide initiative run by Students for Life has worked to offer hope, support and resources for college students faced with crisis pregnancies.

The goal of the Pregnant on Campus initiative is to “provide a tangible resource for pregnant and parenting women on campus,” said Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life.

The initiative, which was launched last September, has seen significant success over the last year, she told EWTN News Aug. 22.

Hawkins explained that college-age women who choose abortion often say that they did so because of a lack of resources and support.

They feel that they had no choice, she said, even if they did not want to abort.

While unintended pregnancies can be difficult in any stage of life, Hawkins observed that expectant college students can face “unique challenges” such as unforgiving class schedules, critical classmates, a lack of accommodating facilities and pressure from parents on whom they rely financially.

“It’s not a place you want to be pregnant,” she said, adding that women often feel like they must choose between their child and their education.

The Pregnant on Campus initiative is striving to show these women that it is difficult but not impossible to do both, and that help is available, she said.

The program is “helping student for life groups that are already established to change the culture on campus,” Hawkins explained.

Students for Life is mentoring about 70 pro-life college groups that are currently enrolled in the initiative, helping them provide resources for pregnant women who make the “heroic” decision to keep their child.

The Pregnant on Campus website outlines several event ideas for pro-life groups seeking to foster a supportive atmosphere at their colleges. These ideas include free weekly babysitting nights, baby showers to help provide for the needs of expectant mothers and installing diaper changing stations in restrooms on campus.

Hawkins said that it is critical to “leave signs of hope on campus.” She stressed the importance of reaching pregnant women in the short period of time before they seek an abortion.

At least one pro-life student group has seen success with bus advertisements directing women to local crisis pregnancy centers, she said.

Another approach that has proven effective is the creation of a scholarship fund to raise money for pregnant and parenting women on campus, Hawkins reported.

Through bake sales and other fundraisers, pro-life student groups have been able to offer financial assistance to college students who choose life for their child.

These scholarships are generally small, perhaps covering the cost of one semester’s worth of textbooks, but they show pregnant women that there is hope, love and support available for them on campus, Hawkins explained, pointing to college women who said that they chose life for their babies as a result of the scholarships. 

Reflecting on the first year of the program, Hawkins believes Pregnant on Campus has been successful.

More than 70 pro-life student groups are actively involved the program, holding more than 200 events over the past year and saving an untold number of lives.

Hawkins said that Students for Life hopes to have over 100 groups enrolled in the program by the end of the year.

The organization also has a new resource guide planned, which she hopes will help pro-life student groups in their life-saving efforts on campuses across America.

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