Culture

Are Catholic Colleges Designed for Women? FemCatholic Investigates

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September 20, 2022

By Renée Roden and Kelly Sankowski

A young Catholic woman got pregnant the summer after her sophomore year at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault on campus that summer.

When she went to the campus health clinic after a positive pregnancy test, she got an appointment with an obstetrician that same day. Within 24 hours, she had an appointment for an abortion. She informed her mother of her decision, who stayed with her in a hotel during her weeklong recovery from the intense bleeding and physical side effects.

In the moment, the student appreciated the speed with which the school and doctors responded. "At the time, you're like 'I don't want this problem,'" she said in a phone interview with FemCatholic. She asked that her name be withheld to protect her privacy. But, in retrospect, she said, "They did a disservice by letting it all happen so quickly. What 19-year-old can make any big decision in 24 hours?"

Her chief concern in that moment had been for her future. And no one, she said, helped her consider that her ambitions might be possible to achieve with a child.

"I didn't know that someone could finish school while pregnant," she said.

***

Addressing the Core Problem: Faulty Design

President Joe Biden met last week with the reproductive rights task force in order to bolster support for women on college campuses. On October 4, the Department of Education re-issued guidance for colleges and universities to ensure support for students undergoing pregnancy, abortion, and childbirth. These guidelines did not break new ground, however. It was the same guidance that has been in place since Title IX was implemented nearly 50 years ago.

Since Title IX was implemented in 1975, women have been legally guaranteed equal access to education. While this includes protections for pregnant students, many colleges still lack the practical measures to ensure a pregnant or parenting student is able to stay on college campuses that, according to several student affairs professionals, are not designed for their needs.

Like state institutions, Catholic colleges and universities who receive federal funding are bound by Title IX, which is a Federal law that prohibits sex-discrimination in access to education.

Although Title IX has protected the rights of pregnant students to education since 1975, that has not been communicated clearly, some Title IX experts say.

Currently, the Department of Education only recommends, but does not require, that schools “make clear that prohibited sex discrimination covers discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.”

Section 106.4 of Title IX addresses the rights of pregnant students. But it does not specifically state that schools are required to have a policy for pregnant and parenting students or to train their faculty and staff about that policy. 

Accordingly, many schools do not explicitly list pregnancy as a protected class in their non-discrimination statements. 

Rayna Dyton-White, a Title IX Coordinator who created the Pregnancy and Parenting Accommodations Policy at the University of St. Joseph in Connecticut, only identified the need for a pregnancy policy through her own research into supplementary guidance documents and court documents that outlined the resolutions of Title IX cases.

“I realized we are supposed to have a full policy,” Dyton-White said in a phone interview with FemCatholic. “Not a line at the end of a sexual misconduct policy – there is supposed to be a fully separate policy.”

Title IX is currently being amended by the Department of Education. A main focus of the amendments is clarifying a pregnant student's protected status. The proposed changes would require that any employee of the school who learns of a student's pregnancy must provide them with information about how to contact the Title IX coordinator, who must then provide the student with information about a voluntary leave of absence with reinstatement of academic status, a clean, private space for lactation, and other available resources to prevent discrimination.

But even with these proposed changes, Title IX is not enough to completely reshape a system that wasn’t designed for women in the first place, according to some feminist organizers. 

“Title IX protects against pregnancy discrimination but does not mean accommodation,” said Serrin Foster, the president of Feminists for Life.

Because a four-year graduation rate is important for their rankings, advocates worry schools are not incentivized to accommodate mothers who need time off for pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum leave.

“At a national level, we have to stop penalizing schools by rating them lower because parents may go part-time and therefore not graduate within the traditional four years,” said Foster.

Pregnancy is one possible natural outcome of a female body having sex. But, unlike for a male student who has sex or fathers a child, an unexpected pregnancy during college for a female student can result in a catastrophic loss of education, career opportunities, or a future.

Several women interviewed said the overwhelming message they heard is that having a child will derail their education and upset their future. 

Madeline Jesson, a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., recalled one professor at Georgetown who on the first day of class asked her what her plans were for after graduation. When she responded by sharing that she was pregnant and expecting a baby soon after graduation, Jesson said she could tell by the look on her face that she was thinking, “Why would you do that? Career, career career," she recalled. "What was hardest for me was that I feel like it was this unspoken thing - you don’t have a kid until your career is thriving and you’re 35," she added.

If they become pregnant or have a child, many women find that they cannot finish school in an environment designed for the male body. Although there is no data on the percentage of college pregnancies that end in abortion, 27.6% of all abortions are obtained by women between the ages of 20-24. And many women–including two interviewed by FemCatholic–drop out of school at the time of their pregnancy.

“I was definitely a rare case,” recalled one former student at an Ohio university. She was told by a professor that they had only ever encountered one other pregnant student, “but she left and we never heard from her again.”

Angela Franks, Professor of Theology at St. John’s Seminary in Boston, said it was not enough for schools to simply open their doors to women without making any adjustments. 

"If we are serious about letting women in, it can't just be 'We are going to admit you too, but we are going to keep the structure of the university the same," said Franks in a phone interview with FemCatholic.

In her landmark 2019 book, "Invisible Women," Criado-Perez covered the ways in which female bodies are excluded from data sets that provide the fodder with which designers, architects and engineers create the world. The result? A world built for men that women are forced to adjust to, often with life-threatening results.

"Routinely forgetting to accommodate the female body in design—whether medical, technological or architectural—has led to a world that is less hospitable and more dangerous for women to navigate," wrote journalist Caroline Criado-Perez. 

Experts are increasingly turning to insights from different industries to address systemic issues. One of these areas is human-centered design. Justin Bartkus, a Chicago-based design consultant and strategist, said that at the root of human-centered design is understanding human experiences.  "You have to understand what it’s like to live within that system, and how the system might need to be changed," he said in a phone interview with FemCatholic.

Human-centered design is a movement in architecture and systems engineering that originally was focused on solving problems for businesses or products. In recent years, Bartkus said, design is being used to "achieve social objectives, to develop policy and solutions." He added, "It's a very cool idea–and not one you would have seen 10 years ago,"

"Design research is always geared toward action, to innovate change or adjust the reality," he said. As the "social conscience" of America has awoken to the need for systems to change, he said that design is being used to solve more "high stakes problems."

***

FemCatholic set out to understand the state of pregnancy on Catholic college campuses. To do so, we spoke with nearly a dozen women who had experienced pregnancy while university students – all but one of whom attended Catholic universities. FemCatholic also contacted over 180 Catholic colleges in the United States to learn about the policies and resources they have available to pregnant students. We selected a representative data set of 63 schools to follow up with. In the end, we confirmed data with 29 Catholic colleges. 

Catholic colleges, like secular universities, are still failing to fully implement Title IX protections for pregnant students. Yet Catholic colleges, several theologians said, have a particular mandate to create a space that promotes flourishing for all students. 

"The majority of Catholic schools were designed for single white men who are able-bodied," said Annie Selak, associate director of the Women's Center at Georgetown University.  "We see this in classroom layout, access to resources, everything from degree requirements to access to housing," she said in a phone interview with FemCatholic.

But, she noted, needing access is a common human experience apart from gender. "So what can we put in place to ensure that everyone has access?" she said "If we’re serious about the universal call to holiness, access applies to everyone."

While many colleges are stepping up efforts to support pregnant students, FemCatholic's team found three main symptoms of campus design preventing pregnant students' access to education: lack of awareness, lack of consistent policies, and a culture of shame.

First Symptom: Lack of Awareness

“Pregnancy and birth and death are things that happen naturally,” said theologian Angela Franks. Even on college campuses, she noted. 

But for many women who become pregnant on college campuses, pregnancy is a hidden struggle. Of the 29 colleges FemCatholic spoke to for this story, only 16 told us they were aware of at least one student who became pregnant on campus in the past year.

Christine Tracy, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students at Quincy University in Illinois told FemCatholic she'd noticed a gender divide in the parenting students on campus.

One or two male students per year became fathers, according to Tracy, but she was aware of one female student becoming a mother in recent memory. Tracy reiterated that if female students wanted to become mothers, the university would support them. But most of the parenting students she had met were men.

“I have worked with more men that have become fathers than women who have become mothers," she said in a Zoom interview with FemCatholic.

Catholic colleges and universities are hesitant to discuss their students' sexual activity. Data on the use of birth control, incidences of pregnancy, and the number of abortions is also lacking. Although data on the number of college students having sex is vague, studies suggest that 66% of all college students are sexually active. A 2008 study from the Cardinal Newman Society for Catholic Education shows that 46% of students surveyed had engaged in sexual activity. And a majority of respondents claim their social circle is sexually active.

Multiple student affairs professionals told FemCatholic that they have personal or anecdotal knowledge of students who become pregnant, but they do not keep records of those cases. In a phone interview with FemCatholic, Anitra Yusinki-McShea, the Vice President of Student Affairs at King's College, Pennsylvania said that neither King's College nor the previous Catholic universities she worked at kept records of women who got pregnant on campus. Yusinki-McShea cited concerns for women's privacy.

Many administrators interviewed expressed similar reasons for not keeping records of the number of students seeking pregnancy support on campus. 

Students themselves are often not aware of campus support of pregnant students. A 2021 poll by Students for Life, a national organization for anti-abortion student leaders, showed that only 33% of the respondents remember seeing any resources for parenting or pregnant students advertised on campus.

St. Joseph's University in Pennsylvania noted there is "No reliable data [that] exists on the numbers of pregnant and parenting students or on the numbers of these students who face discrimination in violation of Title IX." A 2015 white paper by their health center calls upon the Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection process to help collect data to "help craft strategies that counter discrimination," and for the Department of Education to "capture the number of pregnant and parenting students” and to “create a body of data on where and how efforts to support the education of pregnant and parenting students have succeeded."

Second Symptom: Lack of Consistency 

One former student at an Ohio university was due with her son the first week of classes. She asked to have her name withheld for privacy reasons. She said when she reached out to her professors to explain her situation, she received a wide range of responses. 

Some professors recorded lectures for her and others told her to take time off as she needed. But she recalled one professor who “was having a fit that I couldn’t come to class for the first six weeks” because of her medical leave. The university helped her switch to different class.

This student became pregnant as a result of a sexual assault, and she credits the majority of the support she got from the university to her counselor at the rape crisis center. The counselor spoke to professors and lawyers, accompanied her to the police station and continued this support after the baby was born.

“I had such ‘mom brain’ after the fact and was going through a criminal court process at the same time, and was doing really intensive counseling,” she said. “I was so determined that I didn't want to let what happened to me stop me.”

Once she returned to school, she told her professors that she was determined to graduate on time. One professor encouraged her to bring her baby to class after he was born, and he became the “class baby”. 

But even with the help of her counselor, much of the onus was on her to make arrangements for accomodations.

“I could only imagine how challenging it would be for someone who didn't have such an outgoing, blunt personality,” she said.

Although there are many point persons for pregnant students on college campuses and many helping hands, this multi-pronged approach can often mean there's no consistent campus response to pregnancy. 

“Most colleges view women as somewhat mysteriously underserved men.” said Angela Franks. But the experience of pregnancy, she said, is unique to women's bodies and can't be addressed by seeing women as underserved or discriminated-against men.

One of the key principles of human-centered design is to "solve the right problem." Today, many college campuses try to help pregnant women stay in school. But these interventions fall short of re-designing the system and solving the right problem.

In our own reporting, out of the 29 schools we confirmed data with, 10 have a clear policy that is specific to pregnant and parenting students, 5 have a designated pregnancy support advocate, and 5 offer a pregnancy resource center. 

Often, since they are the people they interact with most and know the best, students approach faculty, ministers, counselors, or student affairs professionals. But because there often isn't a centralized policy, students cannot always be sure of a consistent response. 

Third Symptom: Culture of Shame

Madeline Jesson, the 2018 Georgetown graduate, met with a confidential health professional very early on in her pregnancy, and said the main thing she remembers was the offer of a bigger desk for exams.

But Jesson wasn't at the point in her pregnancy to even start thinking about needing a bigger desk. And her due date was after graduation, so she didn't need academic medical leave and she had access to prenatal care. She was dealing with the process of telling people that she was pregnant in an atmosphere where she “didn’t see any other pregnant student [her] entire time there.” 

Serrin Foster told FemCatholic in an email that she and Feminists for Life have worked closely with Georgetown to improve resources at the school for Pregnant and Parenting Students. 

“Health Education Services Director Carol Day has been and continues to be an invaluable resource and connection to resources both on and off campus,” said Foster. “She has created a task force across the administration to assist with financial aid, counseling and pastoral care, redshirting if an athlete on scholarship needs a semester off, and more.”

"I would like to think that any university, especially our university, with its Catholic mission, would be accommodating to anyone who is pregnant,” said Carol Day in a phone interview with FemCatholic.

Many resources for pregnant students, especially academic aid and coordinating exams or medical leave with professors, are offered through the University's accessibility offices. Accessibility offices are designed to offer learning supports to students with permanent or temporary physical or learning disabilities. 

But accommodations made for pregnancy in coursework do not address deeper concerns – like the embarrassment that stems from being the only pregnant student on campus. 

Jesson recalled expecting greater collaboration among her professors. “I just felt like I had to tell each professor what was going on,” said Jesson. “It was clear that none of them had ever dealt with something like this…there was no protocol in place; they had never been briefed.”

In one instance, the sense of embarrassment she felt around her pregnancy – along with the physical tax of a three-hour seminar – led her to stop attending one of her classes. It was taught by a male professor she didn’t feel comfortable explaining her situation to, and students she felt uncomfortable around were in the class.

“I felt really weird about being pregnant so I didn’t go to the class,” she said.

Jesson said this atmosphere is something that would have been even more challenging if she was a freshman or sophomore and not about to graduate, to the extent that it might have impacted the path forward with her pregnancy.

“Especially once I was showing, it was easier for people to pretend that I was not pregnant – no one acknowledged it,” she said.

Although sex occurs frequently on college campuses, pregnancy is still taboo. Jesson's experience of isolation while pregnant on campus points to a deeper cultural problem that can be hard to address even with accommodations and support programs. 

The University of Dayton offers a comprehensive pregnancy support program called "Hand in Hand." Crystal Sullivan, the director campus ministry who oversees the program, said that one of the largest obstacles for a Catholic school being truly pro-life is a culture of shame.

"The stigma of being pregnant and single in Catholicism is still out there, and we are going to need to change that if we’re truly going to be a pro-life organization," Sullivan said.

The dean of students at St. Thomas Aquinas College, with campuses in Massachusetts and California, said their code of conduct prohibiting pre-marital sex made it difficult for them to have a clearly advertised policy for pregnant students. 

"A student who is expecting who is unmarried would have the support for bearing and supporting that child," said Patrick Gardner, Dean of Students at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Massachusetts. 

The college has a single-sex residential structure, and men are not allowed into women's dorms and women are not allowed into men's dorms. "There’s no way that we have the campus culture we have without our residential culture," said Gardner in a phone interview with FemCatholic. "It's unusual, and we take it seriously." 

"We all, as a community take very seriously Catholic moral teaching, that includes supporting a pregnant mother, married or unmarried," he said. But Gardner noted that if a student became pregnant, either that would mean there had been breach of their code of conduct prohibiting sexual activity or that that student would be a victim of a sexual assault. 

"If it came up, it would be complicated," he said. He had not encountered such a situation during four years as dean.

Anna Ryan-Bender, the Director of Campus Ministry at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania, said addressing the bigger questions that still exist – even if students receive pregnancy accommodations and resources – is where campus ministry departments can aid pregnant and parenting students. 

“Campus ministry brings a specific lens to accompaniment,” said Ryan-Bender. "There are still bigger, 'This is a big thing I'm doing' questions to hold and work through that are less easily answerable,” she added. 

Yet, this sort of pastoral accompaniment can be difficult for campus ministers who are navigating codes of conduct. One former campus minister from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana said that, because sexual activity is forbidden in student handbooks, it makes it difficult to minister to students wrestling with the outcomes of sex, including assaults, pregnancies, or sexually transmitted diseases. 

"Because our handbook explicitly forbids pre-marital sex, it means we struggle to accompany students as they deal with the risks of having sex," she said.

Multiple campus ministers said that the students both saw them as a resource and a support but also as a judge. They said that their title of minister made it difficult to walk with students after they made a choice about whether or not to continue the pregnancy.

“Any time we are talking about sex, it brings up Catholic guilt – ‘I dont want to bring up that I am pregnant because I am not supposed to be having sex here; I dont know how people are going to see me,’” said Stacy Andes, the Director of Health Promotion at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. 

“I think it is important for all of our universities to communicate that if you are pregnant – regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, all of those things – we want to support you. If we communicate that, it might break down some ideas of what we do and don’t do because of our Catholic identity,” Andes added.

Redesigning the Narrative

The first week of her final semester of college in January 2003, Marcia Lane-McGee found out she was 22 weeks pregnant. She was a fifth-year senior at Benedictine University in Illinois, paying her way through school without family support.

Lane-McGee had a $16,000 balance on her account going into the semester. $10,000 of which was a paperwork error, she said, and $6,000 she owed the school.

She met with the school treasurer, a Benedictine priest, during the first week of the semester to discuss fixing the error and paying off her $6,000 balance."This was the early 2000s," Lane-McGee said in a phone interview with FemCatholic, "we were being told a college degree was our key to fame and fortune," she added.

The priest refused to work with Lane-McGee to settle her debt. At the end of the brief meeting, she told him her situation. "I just need help. I’m pregnant, I want to keep my child, I just need to be able to finish the semester," she said.

Lane-McGee, a Black woman, remembered: "He looked at my stomach, and looked at me. He looked disgusted and angry."

She recalled his response clearly: "He said, 'All you people want is a handout, my answer is no, and that is final,'" Lane-McGee said. When she went to the campus cafeteria for lunch after the meeting, she learned that the university had already cut off her meal plan.

"School was connected to food, job, housing, everything," she said. She had just a few days to move out of the dorm, and then she was homeless for two weeks in the middle of Chicago winter at 22 weeks pregnant. She moved in with a friend in Indiana for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Benedictine University did not respond to repeated requests for comment. 

At the time, Benedictine University did not have any clear, publicly-stated pregnancy policy for students. There still is no policy publicly available on their website.

Marco Masini, the Dean of Students at Benedictine University declined to comment, but said it was the job of everyone on campus to help students.

Lane-McGee scheduled an abortion. The morning of her appointment, she was lying in bed and she felt a chill in her bones. "I remember being like: 'I don’t want to do this, but this is what I have to do,'" she said.

As she silently apologized to her child, she suddenly felt a kick. It was the first time she had felt movement inside of her.. "He personally hadn’t made himself known, but from that moment, he was mine," she said. "And it was like, okay we’re doing this," she continued.

But he really only felt like "hers" for two weeks, Lane-McGee said, before the desperation of her circumstances forced her to place him for adoption.

"It was cold, I didn’t have a coat that fit, I was cold, and I was hungry," she said. So she searched for "adoption agencies in Illinois." Lane-McGee said she made an adoption plan with an agency called Adoption Connection. She did not want to do so, but adoption was the only path she could see to get her basic needs met. "The only way I was going to get rent money, food, clothes was to get money from the agency," she said. "So I agreed to place my child for adoption."

Lane-McGee is vocal about her critiques of the adoption industry that exploits women in her similarly desperate situations. She pondered about the college's failure to live out the ethos of its faith. "I wonder how different my life would have been if the first priest I told about my pregnancy would have actually decided to be Catholic," she said.

The Cardinal Newman Society was founded in 1993 for the purpose of "advocating and supporting fidelity to the teaching of the Catholic Church across all levels and methods of Catholic education," and "identifying and promoting clear standards of Catholic identity," according to its website. Though not a magisterial group, the society identifies and recommends Catholic colleges with what they call a faithfully Catholic character.

Although the society measures Catholic character and Catholic identity through dorm living, academic programs, and spiritual offerings, the Cardinal Newman Society does not vet its schools for policies regarding the welfare of pregnant students. 

"We do not currently request data on colleges' policies and services for pregnant students," said Kelly Salomon, the director of education and advocacy at The Cardinal Newman Society, in an email to FemCatholic.

"But if we ever had reason for concern, we would be certain to investigate." Salomon said, "We are convinced that The Newman Guide colleges have great concern for the pro-life issue, with strong devotion to Catholic teaching and love for both mother and child."

A number of Catholic universities, including several Cardinal Newman Society-recommended schools, have implemented programs to address the needs of pregnant and parenting students.

The campus of Belmont Abbey, North Carolina, is the home of the MiraVia residence, where pregnant and parenting students with children under 2 can live in community while attending college at any nearby university. Similarly, the University of Mary launched a scholarship program in August for students who are pregnant and single mothers. The St. Teresa of Calcutta scholarship program will provide meal plans, housing, tuition, and student-organized free childcare. 

Ave Maria University in Florida has launched a student-led “Campus Care” initiative, which provides resources to pregnant and parenting women. To overcome the isolating experience of pregnancy on campus, Chestnut Hill College, Pennsylvania is planning a peer support group for pregnant and parenting students through its campus ministry office. 

To try to connect students to resources in all of these areas, a number of schools offered designated pregnancy advocates who support and connect students to a variety of resources. According to Stacy Andes, the Villanova University’s Director of Health Promotion, this includes helping students with parking permits, contacting professors, virtual baby showers, helping students fund their rent, and connecting them with other community resources.

Several schools have launched campus research initiatives to understand the needs of pregnant students, such as the Catholic University of America's Guadalupe Project. The results of their study will be published later this month. 

One school demonstrates what a comprehensive redesign might look like.

College of Saint Mary, Nebraska, is one of the few remaining all-women's colleges in the United States. It was awarded the title of best school for parenting students by Students for Life of America in 2015. Their "Mothers Living and Learning" program offers housing, parenting classes, community support, childcare, transportation to school, access to legal aid and state benefits for mothers with children up to the age of 12. The program serves about 10 students living in Madonna Hall on campus, and approximately 150 students living off campus. 

Their program began 20 years ago, when a student approached the president of the college, Maryanne Stevens, a Mercy Sister.

According to Larissa Buster, Director of Residence Life at College of Saint Mary, a young woman entered Sr. Stevens' office and told her that she had to drop out of school. When Stevens asked why, the student shared that she was pregnant.

"A junior who was pregnant came to me and said she was going to have a baby that summer," said Sr. Stevens in an email to FemCatholic. "She didn’t know how she could do her senior year if she couldn’t bring her child back to the residence hall," she added. Sr. Stevens saw an opportunity. 

"Sr. Stevens said, 'No, you’re not going to do that, we’re going to find space for you,'" said Buster.

The Mothers Living and Learning program began with that encounter between student and an administrator committed to her success. "It was a response to need," said Sr. Stevens.

Designing a Culture of Dignity

When it comes to designing college campuses to support women and children, each campus will need to start with the experiences of their own students.

“Every school has different challenges,” said Serrin Foster. “For some, it is an issue of housing. Sometimes, family housing is far less expensive in the community and more family-friendly. For others, it is about a lack of communication.” (As she noted, searching for "student parent" on a school's website will often lead to a page for parents of students, rather than students who are parents). 

At the University of St. Joseph, Connecticut, Rayna Dyton-White said her case files of students help the college meet student needs.

“The data is helpful,” she told FemCatholic in an email. “Knowing not just the caseload, but the demographics behind them was useful when we decided where to place another lactation space and how it should be accessed.” 

The data showed many of the students who receive pregnancy accommodations are adult students with families and careers, who attend class at night and on weekends. The school decided they should put the new lactation room in a building that is open late and where many graduate classes are held.

Dyton-White's story illustrates a core principle of human-centered design. Design a solution for the real people involved and know what they actually need. "Quantitative data is not enough," said designer Justin Bartkus. "If you're going to address the problem in the real world, you better put your anthropologist hat on."

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Before designing a solution, the designer explores the many experiences of the human in the environment that needs changing. What are their struggles? What do they need, lack, and want? 

Because this anthropological research requires a lot of input and experiences from different subjects, designer Justin Bartkus said there's a movement away from a singular designer or "maestro" solving the problem to "grassroots organizing and communication" about a problem.

Catholic colleges are a natural place to start this human-centered redesign, according to Annie Selak of Georgetown University. Partly, she said, because of Catholicism's commitment to creating a pro-life culture. But even more so, she said, because of its commitment to creating a just society in which each member can thrive.

"If we think about justice as giving each their due, or creating a world more inclusive and marked by equality, then supporting pregnant women's equal access to education is a key way of doing that," she said. "It makes justice not an abstract topic, but something that’s felt in communities.”

Updated on October 12, 10:50pm.
***

Additional reporting by Sara Scarlett Wilson, Mary Rose Corkery, and Lillian Piel

***

FemCatholic is currently exploring partnerships to further the investigation into this important issue and what solutions would be most impactful towards equality for women.

Pregnancies on college campuses are underreported. And, as many student affairs professionals have told us, pregnancy on college campuses is a multi-faceted and complex experience. 

FemCatholic is committed to exploring the breadth of these stories and hearing each pregnant student's unique account of their pregnancy. If you have a story of pregnancy on a college campus, please consider sharing it with us here. All stories collected are considered off the record, unless you give us your explicit consent to have a follow-up conversation. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for sharing.

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