Last week, Students for Life, a national pro-life organization, ranked Notre Dame as the fifth-friendliest school for pregnant and parenting students. Senior Janelle Wanzek, president of the Right to Life club, said the ranking is largely due to the resources available for pregnant and parenting students on campus. These resources include information on what to do if students find themselves in a crisis pregnancy, information on local adoption agencies, referrals to doctors, free pregnancy tests at the health center and counseling. The University also has day care centers and five lactation rooms for parents, she said. Wanzek said this is an exciting ranking because it will help to educate students about the resources available to them.
"I think us being number five, if we advertise it to the students, is going to mean that a lot more students will learn about the resources that we have," Wanzek said. "Talking to the general student public ... there’s a lot of rumors surrounding what happens if a girl were to become pregnant. No one knows that the University is fully supportive and has all the resources that named us number five."
Wanzek said while Notre Dame's ranking is very good, there is still room for improvement. This year, Wanzek said, the Right to Life club has several projects in progress, including reserving parking spots for pregnant mothers on campus, educating students about the resources available to those who find themselves pregnant and creating a student video about the University's resources for student parents.
Wanzek said student pregnancy is a relevant issue across the country, not just at Notre Dame.
"I think it is an important issue for any college," Wanzek said. "I think it's important for the whole general public for there to be resources because ... women in crisis pregnancies are pushed to get an abortion because they don’t know about the resources. They feel they have no other option. They’re scared, so they go to the quickest, easiest solution. But if we made the other resources more available and more well known, they wouldn’t be so pushed into abortion."
Wanzek said she hopes sometime in the near future, Notre Dame will be ranked the number one friendliest school for pregnant and parenting mothers.
"[The ideal would be] for every student to know the resources, so if one of their friends were to come to them ... they would be able to tell them, 'Let's go do this,' ... instead of going right away to the abortion facility," Wanzek said. "In an ideal world, everyone on campus would not have the stigma that the University is not going to support you when you get pregnant and that they can’t have an education while they’re pregnant. … Notre Dame wants everyone to be able to [have an education] if they find themselves in that situation."