EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marco Rubio Introduces Bill to Offer Real Support to Pregnant College Women

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Posted: May 19, 2022 3:45 PM
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marco Rubio Introduces Bill to Offer Real Support to Pregnant College Women

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will introduce the Senate companion version to Rep. Ashley Hinson's (R-IA)  Pregnant Students Rights Actwhich was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year and aims to offer real support for pregnant students, so that they may choose life while also staying in school and fulfilling their education and career aspirations. Townhall received exclusive first look coverage of the bill being introduced in the Senate. 

"Pregnant college women should never feel like abortion is their only option,” Sen. Rubio told Townhall in a statement. “This bill would help pregnant students choose life by ensuring women are aware of the information and resources provided by their school to support them and their babies while pursuing their education. Every life is precious and college campuses should never make young women feel marginalized for choosing life."

Abortion is often pushed as the option for young women who find themselves pregnant while in college, which of course leaves these vulnerable young women without any real options at all. 

Pro-abortion organizations and individuals will also tout abortion by promoting a lie that it necessary so that pregnant students can continue their higher education so as to be able to achieve their dreams and aspirations. 

Sadly, many women buy this lie. Women in their 20s account for most of abortions, at 56.9 percent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for 2019. Those ages 20-24 years old accounted for 27.6 percent of abortions.

"When young women become pregnant on campus, they are often pressured into having an abortion and not made aware of other resources," Rep. Hinson said in a statement for Townhall. "I’m grateful that Senator Rubio is championing the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act in the Senate—this bill will ensure young women know about all resources available, including flexible class schedules and excused absences, empowering them to choose the best future for themselves and their baby."

While abortion is often pushed on these young women, it doesn't need to be. Title IX higher education institutions are actually required to provide accommodations and resources for pregnant women, though many women just don't know about these options. Such recourses include excused absences, maintaining their academic status once they return from medical leave, and participating in classes and extracurricular activities with reasonable adjustments. 

The House version of the bill points out that "women on college campuses may fear institutional reprisal, loss of athletic scholarship, and possible negative impact on academic opportunities." and notes that an "academic disparity exists because of the lack of resources, support, and notifications available for female college students who do not wish to receive an abortion or who carry their unborn babies to term."

The bill will thus "require public institutions of higher education to disseminate information on the rights of, and accommodations and resources for, pregnant students..."

The Pregnant Students Rights Act has been endorsed by a range of pro-life groups, including Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, Feminists for Life, the U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops, and Students for Life Action.

That last group, Students for Life Action, which is the c4 version of Students for Life of America, provided inspiration for and has enthusiastically celebrated Hinson's bill. Students for Life also has an initiative for pregnant students, known as Standing with You, to ensure "no woman stands alone" in her pregnancy and while parenting. 

In addition to expressing her enthusiasm about the bill, Brooke Paz, the government affairs coordinator for Students for Life Action provided additional context as well. 

"With a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade on the horizon, it's incredibly important that legislators begin to strategize how to help and empower women facing an unplanned pregnancy so that they can confidently choose parenting or adoption. Nearly one year ago, Students for Life Action approached Representative Hinson's office about the unique challenges that pregnant and parenting students face on college campuses and advocated for a federal policy that would ensure students are well-informed about their Title IX rights," Paz shared.

"Colleges tend to only focus on advertising students' Title IX rights should they face sexual harassment or need disability accommodations. In fact, a 2021 studyof Millennial and Gen Z Americans conducted by our Demetree Institute for Pro-Life Advancement found that only 2 in 10 students have basic knowledge of legal protections for pregnant and parenting students. That's why the Pregnant Students' Rights Act matters," Paz also pointed out. "Women deserve to know the reasonable accommodations, protections, and resources they must be afforded while on a college campus so they can make well-informed decisions about their personal, professional, and academic goals."

Considering this bill is about letting pregnant students know their full range of options, one will see if those elected officials who claim to be "pro-choice" on abortion will be in favor of such legislation that actually empowers women to have the resources to choose to parent.