By Erin Jobes
Colorado college student, Ruth Asmarzadeh, found herself unable to continue her education at Pikes Peak Community College because she was pregnant. Despite being pressured to abort her child, she chose life and bore her son, Eli.
Asmarzadeh’s financial aid was taken, and she was not able to reschedule her exams for the semester. She found herself feeling “helpless.” As she told Fox News,
"I don't like to imagine my life without my son or my education… In fact, it breaks my heart knowing at one point I had to choose between the two."
Thankfully, Students For Life of America, SFLA, launched a program called the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, which aims to help current or soon-to-be parents know their Title IX rights, as well as provide resources to help those balancing parenthood with their education.
What is Title IX? According to SFLA’s campaign website, Title IX is a bill which was
“enacted in 1972 to protect women from sex discrimination and has been applied strategically to assist female athletes. Since then, it has ensured, by law, that countless young women could embrace both their child and their education (or athletic scholarship).”
Included in Title IX are rules prohibiting students from being turned away from club memberships, housing, and financial aid based on sex discrimination, and protects students from having their scholarships penalized or revoked for the same reason.
More than one in five college students are parents, and colleges have historically been bad at both accommodating those parents who want to pursue a degree and informing students of their rights, leading to more coerced abortions and students dropping out to have their child.
After hearing about the campaign, Asmarzadeh reached out to SFLA for help, and not only did they help her get her financial aid back, they also threw her a baby shower and surprised her with a very special gift. Six thousand dollars was fundraised to help her finish her degree and get “the job of her dreams.”
President of SFLA called Asmarzadeh to inform her of the news, and stated,
"One of the things we always say at Students for Life is no woman should have to choose between her education and her child… Pregnancy should mark the beginning of a new life, not the end of an academic career.”
Asmarzadeh plans to one day be a licensed counselor, and is “honored and empowered” by the help of SFLA.
Are you a college student who thinks your Title IX rights have been violated? Reach out to the Pregnant on Campus Initiative to receive counsel and the next steps for being able to complete your education!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.