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Right to Life meets with admin.

Megan Loney | Friday, November 13, 2009

Right to Life Club Vice President Anne Maguire met with Karen Johnson, vice president of Student Affairs, and Cathe DeCleene, director of Women’s Health, Monday to discuss services Saint Mary’s College provides for students who are currently pregnant or who have had abortions.

The goal of the meeting was to make sure Maguire knows Saint Mary’s does provide support for pregnant students, Johnson said.

Maguire said she believes the meeting was successful.

“The meeting was a positive discussion addressing the needs of the students and provided positive communication between the staff and students,” Maguire said. “I will continue my work to ensure my classmates are also aware of the services Saint Mary’s provides. There is always more to be done, but this is a productive step in the right direction.”

The Counseling Center, the Health Center and Campus Ministry all offer support to pregnant students or students who have had abortions, Johnson said.

Students generally visit the College’s Health Center for information on support for pregnant women, Johnson said.

Women can receive pregnancy tests in the Health Center and the staff can assist pregnant students with their needs.  Although the Health Center is unable to provide pre-natal care due to lack of necessary equipment, the staff is able to assist pregnant students in finding a doctor, Johnson said.

Expectant mothers are able to stay in the residence halls until they deliver the baby, Johnson said. Students are not allowed to live in residence halls with their babies.

As for classes, pregnant students can work with Susan Vanek, associate dean and advising director of First Year Studies, to adjust their class schedules or exams if there is a conflict, Johnson said.

According to Johnson, staff members from the Health Center, the Counseling Center and Campus Ministry are available to talk and listen to students. Staff members can also provide support if needed when students tell their parents of their situation.

After learning of the support opportunities on campus, Maguire said she turned her attention to the advertisement of the support.

“My concern is that students may not be able to find information on where they can go for support in crisis or unplanned pregnancy on campus,” Maguire said. “Students should be informed that they have a personal support system right here on campus, not only through their peers but also with the support of professionally trained staff.”

During the meeting, Maguire said she suggested the College work to make the services offered to pregnant students more clear.

The College plans to clarify the services offered to make sure students who are pregnant know they are not alone and can be taken care of at Saint Mary’s, Johnson said. She said she hopes to accomplish this by updating the College Web site to give students easier access to the options they have on campus.

“We [Right to Life] will continue to advocate and encourage everyone on campus to step up and play their role in helping pregnant as well as post-abortive women on campus,” Maguire said. “However, now we can help inform students of where they can go and how they can continue with their pregnancy and education.”