Is it possible to be a pro-life feminist?

Pro-lifers and feminists both care about the rights and safety of women

When I first decided to cover the Pregnant on Campus event at ASU, which was supported by the Students for Life club on campus, I was ready to address the bias behind its movement.

However, after having an interview with Mariah Martinez, the chairwoman for Pregnant on Campus at ASU, my bias changed.

Personally, I am pro-choice and I never thought that those who are pro-life could also be feminists. This is not the case. 

Part of being pro-choice is giving women the right to choose to have an abortion or not but that doesn't mean we should criticize other women for being pro-life.

The goal of the Pregnant on Campus club is to help women students who are pregnant, women who are trying to balance motherhood and academics.

They want to inform women of the rights that they have on campus, specifically under Title IX. Title IX protects pregnant women from having to drop out of school and being penalized for missing class due to doctors’ appointments.

According to Title IX, professors are required to allow women to make up the work they miss due health complications associated with pregnancy. 

Title IX also protects student athletes who become pregnant. These women cannot be kicked off their team because they are pregnant and if they choose to come back, the athletics department is required to help the women get back into shape for the upcoming season.

Many assume that pro-life individuals are critical of women who receive abortions — however, they may be more open than you think. 

“We are pro-life, if we find a woman that is post aborted … we are very open to talking to them,” Martinez said. 

There is a stereotype that most pro-life people do not agree with abortions and shame the woman for having one. It is refreshing to come across this organization that helps these women instead of criticizing them.

This group wants to help women who are suffering mentally following an abortion. Many women experience depression after abortions, and Pregnant on Campus helps them by referencing them to other women going through a similar experience or to another organization that can provide helpful services. 

“We respect her decision,” Martinez said. “We just don’t want women to get hurt, but we will never try to make her feel guilty or like she is a terrible person.” 

Not all pro-life individuals share the same ideals. Just like Mariah, some pro-lifers want to take care of the women throughout the pregnancy and after, not abandon them after the child is born.

“People think that if you’re pro-life, you help the woman up until they give birth and then it’s ‘ok, have fun, good luck’,” Martinez said.

Pregnant on Campus wants to combat the negative stigmas surrounding people who identify as pro-life.

One negative stigma is the idea that those who are pro-life can't be feminists too. 

Being pro-life means caring about the woman and her needs, which is what a feminist is about too, especially if one is involved in this organization. They fight for women and make sure that they know their rights on campus.

“We’re not just here to get them through this like a conveyor belt,” Martinez said, “We want to create a community and walk with them.”

The people involved with this organization care about the child after they are born. They don’t care how the baby is conceived, they just want to help.

It’s important for women, especially women in college, to know their rights. Title IX protects us and our bodies.

I was wary of this organization's goals before learning what they really intend to do. In actuality, this organization does just as much for women as many feminist organizations do.

While there is much debate about abortion laws, it's not fair to exclude organizations from feminist causes, such as the Women's March, where pro-lifers claim they were barred from protesting alongside fellow feminists.

It is critical, especially in divisive political times to listen to both sides of every issue — including the more sensitive topics, and with people you disagree with. 

Though I am still pro-choice, Martinez helped me have a more accepting and less judgmental approach about people who are pro-life, and because of that I wish I could meet more pro-life feminists like Mariah Martinez.

Reach the columnist at or follow @serena_mart on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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