Now that Roe v. Wade is overturned and elective abortion is illegal from the moment of fertilization in the state of Texas, the Pro-Life movement must expand its capacity to protect Life. But as we seek to do so, the abortion industry is pivoting, seeking innovative ways to continue destroying innocent human Life. This includes shipping illegal abortion pills from out of the country or trafficking them across the border directly into college dorm rooms.
One of the most common pro-abortion arguments is that women cannot pursue their education and have professional success unless they have an abortion. However, the proper response is not to demand that women give up either their role as a mother or as a student, but to make it easier to succeed at both.
Texas Right to Life is prioritizing Building a Pro-Life Texas this legislative session, and that includes safeguarding the rights of pregnant and parenting college students. There have already been several bills filed toward this end.
Senator Angela Paxton (R-McKinney) has filed three bills that will significantly help college students who are pregnant or are parenting, giving them tools to achieve their goals and to thrive through long-term independence.
The first of Senator Paxton’s bills, Senate Bill 411, would require the Woman’s Right to Know booklet be available and accessible in student health centers. If a student suspects that she is pregnant, she would be able to immediately access life-affirming information about her pregnancy.
Senator Paxton’s Senate Bill 412, and the companion House Bill 1472 by Representative Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City), would ensure pregnant and parenting students’ rights are protected. These protections exist at the federal level, but they must be codified at the state level. Many students are unaware of the accommodations and the protections available to them. Nobody should be forced to take a leave of absence from school for having a child. And if a mother needs to take some time off, she should be able to return to school with the same academic standing as when she left.
Finally, Senate Bill 459, and its companion House Bill 1574 by Representative Caroline Harris (R-Round Rock), would allow parenting students to have priority registration for classes if that accommodation is already offered at the education institution. Being able to choose classes that fit with the already-demanding schedule of parenthood would be incredibly helpful, allowing parents the opportunity they need to prioritize their children while working toward attaining their degrees.
Pregnancy and parenthood should not be impossible barriers to completing an education and achieving long-term independence and success.
The 88th Legislature needs to send a strong message that Texas is not only abortion-free but truly Pro-Life. We will not abandon mothers in their greatest time of need, especially those who are taking bold strides to building lives wherein they can provide for their children and achieve their dreams. Texas Right to Life applauds Senator Paxton, Representative Guillen, and Representative Harris for authoring these Pro-Life Priorities, and we look forward to working with them and the Texas Legislature to build a more truly Pro-Life state.