New Bill in Congress

A new bill is being presented in Congress that would call for support services for pregant and parenting students at colleges and universities. It is S.1966 in the Senate and H.R.4265 in the House. The bill would provide grants to encourage colleges and universities to provide councelling, medical care for children and pregant women, access to day care and other care services, access to needed supplies (baby food, clothes, furnature, etc.) and general support for families, pregant women and their husbands/whatever, and students considering adoption.

This bill is a big deal because as it is, it is nearly impossible for many women to be mothers and students at the same time. Many student health care providers will pay for an abortion but not for a pregnancy or infant care. Many student councelling services will discuss abortion, but not adoption. Women are discouraged from carrying pregancies to term because it is assumed that it will adversely affect their status as students and schools don’t want to deal with that. Women are passed over for grants, jobs and even class spots because of being pregant. Many women are pushed into “special education” programs due to pregancy (despite it being illegal) or hassled about absences, even when they provide doctors notes stating that they couldn’t attend because they were giving birth (this is illegal too). Many schools won’t allow parents to miss class due to a sick child, even if the parent never misses any other class session.

This bill would encourage schools to support these women, and the men and children in their lives, as they persue their degrees, but undergrad and graduate. This is a big deal and could be a wonderful thing if it passes. I’m going to keep an eye on this one and I hope that it passes easily. It is a bill that both parties should support and it should have lots of supporters from all sides of the abortion issue. It doesn’t deal with abortion, just families. No matter what your view on other issues, you should want to support families and a woman’s right to choose to have her baby even if she is a college student.

In the meantime, Girl-Mom has a good page about the rights of pregant women and mothers (and fathers too) in education as well as who to contact if you or someone you know is being descriminated against.

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