Many college campuses don’t have resources for students who become pregnant or are already parenting. Because of this, students who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy while on campus often feel that they have to choose between their education and their child and sadly, many feel forced to have an abortion. Notre Dame Right to Life worked diligently last year to ensure that their campus is welcoming to pregnant students, and thanks to their hard work, they were awarded the Pregnant on Campus Group of the Year award from Students for Life.
“One of the things that is great about pregnancy resources, is that even those who might be pro-choice, they think that if a women wants to be a parent she should have these choices,” explains Erin Stovell-Mulholland, President of Notre Dame Right to Life, “Any woman who makes the decision for life should be supported wholeheartedly. Everyone can get behind it no matter where your views on the abortion issue fall.”
Stovell-Mulholland and her team are making sure every Notre Dame student knows about the pregnancy resources available. Every summer, the school’s RAs come in for two weeks of training. During this time, they are trained in pregnancy resources. Through a video created with three different women who had babies while attending Notre Dame and have since graduated, the RAs learn what resources are there so that they can better help any of students who reach out to them about an unintended pregnancy.
In addition, Stovell-Mulholland spent time last year going to debates during school elections. She would ask the candidates what they thought the student government role should be in terms of ensuring and promoting pregnancy resources for students. The candidate who won ended up contacting Stovell-Mulholland to get her thoughts and ideas on how to better spread the word about pregnancy resources. The student government teamed up with Notre Dame Right to Life, meeting several times throughout the year and even co-sponsoring table tents in the school’s dining halls. The table tents ended up becoming the group’s biggest accomplishment for the year.
“We put these table tents in the two dining halls with FAQs on them such as: I’m pregnant. Does that mean I’ll be kicked out? No. I’m pregnant. Can I still live on campus? Yes,” explains Stovell-Mulholland, “People were talking about it, tweeting about it, Facebooking about it. They were getting information they had never heard before. It was a huge success.”
Notre Dame Right to Life does a fantastic job of promoting pregnancy resources, but that’s not all they do.
“Our club is focused on education, service, prayer, and community,” says Stovell-Mulholland, “And so with the education we put on lectures and seminars. Faculty members bring their expertise to show how it effects the pro-life issue. Business, fertility and Natural Family Planning, human rights commission. It’s about giving students the opportunity first to learn about a particular subject, but also to connect with a professor. They are limited to 15 students and they were a huge success.”
In addition, the group volunteers at pregnancy resource centers which Stovell-Mulholland says has received a lot of interest. They work with a group of children with developmental disabilities holding dance and karaoke parties. They have a senior outreach program at the local nursing home and hold a baby shower on campus with a local women’s center, helping up to seven women who wouldn’t be able to have a baby shower otherwise. Twice a week, Notre Dame Right to Life members who are trained side walk counselors, can be found at abortion clinics praying the rosary.
And the group has more plans for next year, including a faculty-student mentorship that provides students with the opportunity to work one on one with professors to learn how students can showcase their pro-life views in their chosen career, from engineering to business to the medical field.
With all of their focus and determination, Stovell-Mulholland says the entire group was thrilled to win the award from Students for Life:
It was an amazing feeling, especially to be recognized for all the pregnancy resources and all the work we’ve done. It’s something I’m especially passionate about. I’m so honored that SFL thinks we’re doing great work on campus. Embracing students who are facing unplanned pregnancy is really important because that’s what being pro-life is all about. Support, love, compassion. It’s a hard time to become pregnant with all the pressure of classes and parents. It’s important for our members to be a loving support system. It supports this culture of life so that hopefully there will be no need for people to consider abortion. That’s what we’re hoping to do.
Notre Dame Right to Life is definitely succeeding at their goals.