Making Myself Available: Volunteering at the Women’s Care Center

Written by: Alaina Fortkamp 

“What should I do with all my free time?” I kept finding myself asking this question in my head, and I decided it was time to actually do something about it. This is my first year in Bloomington (and in general) as a non-student, a wife, and a full-time professional. The hours I used to spend doing homework are now devoted to laundry, washing dishes, cooking (sometimes), and, well, free time. 

I was looking for a way to integrate myself more into the Bloomington community, but more than that, I wanted to take part in the pro-life movement. No, not by posting about it on Facebook—rather, something that would actually make a positive impact on others. 

I had heard about the Women’s Care Center (WCC), but all I really knew was that it’s right next to Planned Parenthood (and that it’s kind of the opposite of PP). I looked into the organization more, and I fell in love with their life-affirming message. I spoke with my friend Alexandra, who explained that WCC helps women make pro-life decisions for themselves AND their preborn children without being “preachy” or overtly religious. The staff and volunteers just help the ladies and their kids feel safe and loved.  

I felt that immediately as I walked through the door with Alexandra on my first visit as a volunteer babysitter. Rather than immediately pushing abortion access and birth control onto women when they enter a cold, sterile building, the ladies at WCC kindly greeted me in the warm, inviting lobby and talked with me about how I could help the women they served. There were no pamphlets about abortion or birth control or safe sex. Rather, all the material I saw was geared toward pregnant women who were in a tight spot but wanted to give their babies a chance. I loved that. 

To be honest, I was a bit outside of my comfort zone during my first babysitting shift. I think most of that was due to still learning about the organization and meeting the kids (and their moms) for the first time. My second shift went even better, and this time, I brought Nicole, an IU student, with me. She and I fell in love with the little guys and gals we got to watch while their moms (and a few moms-to-be) had a post-Valentine’s Day pampering session.  

I was so glad I got to play with those kids and love on them. At the same time, I felt so humbled and grateful that I could give their mothers just a few minutes of well-deserved quiet time and relaxation. My only regret is that I didn’t volunteer sooner! I’ve had the time for a while; it was just a matter of figuring out a way to encourage others to choose life and making myself available to serve. 

Guest Post: Our Victory at Liberty University

Guest Post from Kyle Eisenhuth

I am a student at Liberty University, and our pro-life group changed campus policy to allow pregnant students to stay in the dorms if they so choose.

Previously, our code of conduct was ambiguous; all it said was that students who engage in sex that results in pregnancy should “self-report their wrongdoing.” When I looked for clarification, everyone I contacted ignored me or sent me to a different office.

Fast-forward six months to Fall 2017 at a university-wide townhall. My question was: “What is Liberty’s policy if a student becomes pregnant in regard to discipline and housing?” After 10 seconds of awkward silence, I was basically told pregnancy is handled case by case.

Afterwards, two individuals high up at Liberty privately explained that women cannot remain in a dorm room once they discover they are pregnant, as to “protect the health of the women and the unborn baby.”

There were families set aside from Thomas Road Baptist Church who were willing to take in pregnant students. However, not everyone wants to leave their hallmates and go live with strangers. I began to realize that at the world’s largest Christian university, it is easier to have a secret abortion than to choose life.

After more calls, visits, and emails that went nowhere, I did some research. I realized that Title IX made it illegal for colleges to prohibit pregnant students from living in the dorms.

I read the letters between Liberty and the Department of Education which I found on SFLA’s website. I am not a lawyer, but it seemed Liberty is only exempt from the abortion parts of Title IX (which is awesome).

On my second visit to the Title IX office, after several calls and emails, the head of the department told me that “my concerns had inspired conversation higher up than her.” In hindsight, this was encouraging information. However, at the time, it seemed like another cop out.

With another townhall on the horizon, I gathered the letters between Liberty and the Department of Education, read the Title IX regulations, quoted what the letters said, and explained our current policy. Afterwards, I asked, “In light of all this, doesn’t Liberty’s policy discriminate against pregnant students?” The panel answered that they cannot discuss legal issues.

Two weeks later, the Dean of Students came up to me randomly and asked if I was with Students for Life.

He then proceeded to tell me that the policy regarding pregnant students would be changed. As of Fall 2018, pregnant students are permitted to stay in the dorms, should they choose. Further, they can also be automatically approved to live off-campus.

When a young woman faces an unplanned pregnancy, Christians should support her, not evict her from her housing. Thank you, Liberty University, for supporting women who choose life.