Meeting Needs of College-Bound Patients
Many of the women we see at True Care attend college, whether Casper’s community college, the University of Wyoming in Laramie, or UW at Casper College. A few are enrolled in out-of-state institutions pursuing higher education. Going to school can be a reason women consider (or even choose) abortion.
Reasons Why Women Abort and Their Demographics
In a study by the Guttmacher Institute on reasons why women abort conducted a decade ago (the most recent survey), the organization discovered that education played a significant role in such a decision. The majority of survey respondents cited finances as a major reason they chose abortion (73 percent). The most common sub-reason under that category was the woman couldn’t afford to have a baby due to being single (43 percent); the second most common sub-reason was that having a baby would interfere with her education (38 percent).
The same organization tracks demographics of American women who abort. The majority of women who chose abortion in the group’s most recent study (2014) were in their 20’s (60 percent). Who primarily attends college? Young people in their late teens through 20s. The same study indicates the number of teens who abort deceased more than 30 percent in less than 10 years (between 2008 and 2014).
The question is: If most women who abort are in their 20s and a significant percentage of them fear pregnancy would interfere with their education, how can we help them feel more empowered to carry their pregnancies to term?
This school year, True Care started our Adopt-A-College Student Program. We selected five young women who came to our center who wanted to attend college but had significant barriers to move forward, in particular, finances. We asked True Care supporters to “adopt” these ladies, helping to pay for textbooks, which, according to a CBS News account, have risen in cost “four times faster than the rate of inflation” in the past few years
These caring “adopters” will also have opportunity later this fall to meet their “students” and interact with them throughout the school year. Our student supporters can send encouraging notes and care packages if they desire. They can also purchase a holiday gift (at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas), further encouraging their student and helping her feel valued. Our goal through this new program is to empower young women attending college to carry their babies to term by providing genuine compassion and financial assistance through our giving community partners. We are so grateful that five people and/or groups have stepped up to help us launch this program!
Legacy Pregnancy Center in Sheridan has successfully run such a program for several years. Staff at True Care learned about this endeavor, and we decided to try to implement a similar program with our patients.
Single Moms and Poverty
The National Women’s Law Center cites studies that show women, especially single mothers, are 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men. They report that nearly 1 in 8 women (approximately 16.3 million) live in poverty. In Wyoming, the poverty rate is 12.6 percent, and in female-headed households in our state, the percentage in much higher: 30.6 percent.
On average, men typically make 20 percent more in wages than women do (about $10,000 a year). However, that figure varies. Sadly, Wyoming is among the worst gender wage gap states. According to the Wyoming Women’s Foundation, a working woman in our state makes only 69 cents for every dollar a man makes.
A college education can help a young woman increase her income potential, and therefore, empower her to carry her baby to term. According to a story in USA Today, on average college graduates earn 56 percent more in wages than people with a high school diploma. Therefore, a college education is vital to the success of young mothers.
As we at True Care plan for the future of our Adopt-A-College Student Program, we hope more of our supporters will join us next school year, helping us help these college-bound young women – and their pre-born children.
To learn more about True Care’s Adopt-A-College Student Program, please call CEO Terry Winship or Resource Coordinator Cheryl Flores at 307-472-2810.