"Addressing Crisis Pregnancies on a College Campus"

Elizabeth Owers '14

Biology Major and CST Minor

Advisor: Professor Bill Purcell


"In recent years, abortion laws have become increasingly less restrictive worldwide. As of 2013, only six countries forbid abortions under any circumstances. Believing that human life begins at conception, the Catholic Church regards abortion as a moral evil and calls the faithful to work against this attack on human dignity. In countries with legalized abortion, the response to this has often been the development of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), counseling services at schools and clinics, funding for prenatal care, and other resources for new parents. The hope is that providing financial and emotional support to women facing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy will encourage them to choose parenthood or adoption over abortion. Women aged 18-24 account for 44% of induced abortions in the United States, with similar percentages in other developed countries, so this issue is quite relevant to college students.

As a Resident Assistant, I learned about the pregnancy resources that Notre Dame offers during hall staff training. Ours are quite generous and comprehensive, but I felt that it would be useful to examine them in light of Catholic Social Teaching and cultural factors. To that end, I also traveled to Switzerland to learn whether the societal differences impacted universities’ handling of students dealing with crisis pregnancies. Taking all of this information into consideration, my project proposes a model for a Catholic university’s pregnancy support resources."