Thursday night, October 20th, was our annual Pregnancy Resource Forum. For those who missed it but still want this vital information, here are our notes as recorded by Gabby Munoz and edited by Richard Howell.
The forum took the form of a panel discussion, moderated by Serrin Foster from Feminists for Life and consisting of Carol Day: Director, Health Education Services, Katie Heather: Office of Residential Living, Danielle Schiestle: Jesuit Volunteer at the Northwest Center, Lori Cascio: Capital Area Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America, Carmen Fitzsimmons Rosenblatt: Catholic Campus Minister, Chaplain in Residence, and Elle Choi: Student-Parent, COL ’19.
From the beginning, the forum was styled not as a debate on abortion but as a discussion to ensure everyone on campus has access to the resources he or she needs. Ms. Foster described the difficulties a woman can have while pregnant in college, including housing the baby, interacting with the father, and tolerating negative judgement from her peers. She argued that no woman should ever be forced to choose between her child and a life of poverty.
Carol Day proceeded to give an overview of resources on campus.
What is available in terms of healthcare:
- Student health insurance covers pregnancy and infant aftercare
- Georgetown insurance has always covered pregnancy related costs
- This may vary for those under a parent’s insurance
- Pregnancy Resource stickers in the bathrooms, which RTL distributes
- FREE pregnancy tests, in-office and at-home tests available
- Dedicated hotline at (202) 870- 1666
- Financial aid has never been affected negatively
- Georgetown actively helps with finding greater financial aid
- If a pregnant student drops to part time, Georgetown has been very successful in helping students create an academic plan
- Unfortunately, most day-care institutions will not accept a child under 18 months
- Most students, however, will need some sort of day-care, especially during classes and studying
Housing: On Campus and Townhouses
- Pregnant women may stay in dorms throughout their pregnancy
- Living in a dorm with a dependent, however, is not allowed
- One can exempt oneself from on-campus housing as soon as one has a dependent, and one can also live in a specially reserved townhouse
- Townhouses are reserved for two student moms and their children
- Currently not of need, but on a semester to semester lease
Training for RAs
- RAs know to refer students who think they might be pregnant to a trusted resource, whether that be to chaplains, Health Education Services Office, etc.
Child-friendly campus area on campus
- Lactation centers: Med Center, Car Barn, ICC, Hospital
- Telecommuting available for those students who cannot go to class because of responsibilities of their child
- There is a precedence of Georgetown faculty accommodating pregnant/ parent students
Chaplin Carmen spoke of counseling:
- In a counseling session, there are no expectations, no particular set of questions, issues, or solutions. It is an open opportunity to talk.
- Walk-ins are always welcome and there is always someone with whom one can speak
Elle spoke of her experience as a parent and a student
- Was really worried about balancing being a student and a parent
- Has found it to be difficult, but manageable and fulfilling
- Has found older moms who are really supportive
- Social media has been very useful to find organizations and niche support groups
- Groups with greatest appeal: children resources (clothes, diapers)
Danielle from the NW Pregnancy Resource Center spoke about their resources
- Free pregnancy testing
- Step-up program
- Must currently be pregnant or have an infant 3 months or younger
- They can obtain social service referrals
- They give material assistance: diapers, wipes, donated clothing, etc.
- Can attempt to fulfill requests from mothers through donor network
- Cannot provide assistance after child is two years old
- Language capacities: Arabic, Ethiopian, Spanish
- Always attempt to accommodate people in their native language
- Legal needs
- Provide women with basic information on rights and legal avenues
- Provide internet access to women that do not have it
Lori Cascio of Students for Life:
- Used to work with George Mason’s Students for Life
- Worked to fight to get more pro-motherhood resources at George Mason because Planned Parenthood previously had the monopoly
- Started the Pregnant Parenting student group at George Mason
- Works with Michele Hendrickson from students for life
- Works with student groups to “change the culture”
- Civil and caring interaction with moms and pro-choice students
- Pro Life and pregnancy resource stickers
- Information pamphlets
- RA kits
Serrin Foster closed the Resource Forum by highlighting…
- Raising Kids on a Shoestring http://kidsonashoestring.com/ is another valuable resource to help women frugally raise children.
- “Abortion is a reflection of the fact we have not met the needs of women.” – Serrin Foster