For almost a year, the Students for Life club at Fresno State University has been trying to get parking spaces added for expectant mothers. And finally, they’ve been able to claim victory, working with the administration to get two new parking spots added for the new school year.
In a press release, Students for Life announced that two parking spots were being added next to the Madden Library and McLane Hall on campus. The effort started after Bernadette Tasy, former president of the campus Students for Life club, was told that it wasn’t possible to provide permanent parking, or even parking passes, for pregnant students. One of their own members, who had been pregnant and parenting on campus, had chosen not to get an abortion, but found navigating the campus to be difficult.
“I always dreaded parking on campus when I was pregnant because of the long walk to class,” Jessica Rojas said in the release. “I remember my walk from my car to campus taking up to 30 minutes. I am so happy pregnant students now have access to park closer to campus.”
For Tasy, she hopes the parking spots will send a message to pregnant students that they don’t need to choose between their babies and their education. “Sometimes, students are constantly searching for a sign so they don’t go through with an abortion,” she said in the press release. “I hope that when students pass by these parking stalls, they see that they are not alone, being pregnant on campus, and that they can be pregnant and successful in school.”
In an e-mail to the College Fix, Tasy further explained why these parking spaces are so important. “The parking spots are, in a way, honorary—like parking spots reserved for veterans or ‘employee of the month,’” she said. “We have had members who were eight and nine months pregnant walking a distance that might take me 10 to 15 minutes, for them it would take 25 to 30 minutes, especially when carrying backpacks, books, and any other items.”
She added, “I strongly believe that anyone who considers themselves ‘pro-choice’ and opposes this project on our campus is just upset that they didn’t think of it first,” explaining that at least one professor inexplicably opposes the creation of the parking spaces. “They are trying to make it a controversial topic because we are a pro-life group who is doing good, no matter what you think about abortion,” she concluded. “My pro-choice and pro-life friends are in agreement that this is a wonderful way to support our pregnant students.”
Other Students for Life clubs have also fought to provide similar accommodations for pregnant students, such as at Ball State University. At Notre Dame University, the student Right to Life group offers free babysitting.
In a previous interview with Live Action News, Anna Allgaier, director of the Students for Life Pregnant on Campus initiative, explained that there are numerous issues pregnant students face. “There are problems that many people do not think about,” she said. “But some common ones would be a lack of understanding of Title IX issues, lack of housing and daycare options, and in general a culture on campuses that looks down on pregnant and parenting students.”
Yet despite efforts to help these students, many of them turn to abortion — often because of an unfriendly attitude towards them on campus. “Other colleges will refer to Planned Parenthood or other abortion vendors,” Allgaier said. “Meanwhile, many schools fail to take basic steps to ensure that Title IX protections are in place. In other words, they create a culture on campus that pushes abortion but does not protect life.”
This discrimination is continuing, but thanks to pro-life groups across the country, steps are being taken to help women understand that it is possible to finish school while raising a child, that support is available, and that abortion is not their only choice.
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