Story by Dana G.
At orientation, all incoming freshmen visit the counseling offices in Murphy Hall on their tour. The New Student Advisors give them the rundown: this is the place to come to receive help for any extenuating circumstances they face during their time at UCLA. This is where you come to request a note-taker for one of your classes if you break an arm. This is where you come to sign up for transportation services if you are unable to get to class on your own. This is where you come to apply for student loans in the case of a financial emergency. However, one type of situation is not mentioned on the tour. What are students’ options if they become pregnant? What resources do they have access to on campus? What are their rights not only as pregnant students, but as possible mothers at UCLA?
Most students are unaware that the same Title IX protections they have against sex discrimination also protect them from pregnancy discrimination.
Just as students with medical conditions receive various types of aid on campus, pregnant women are also guaranteed certain accommodations. Essentially, all special services granted to students with medical conditions must be extended to pregnant women as well. For example, pregnant students have equal access to all classes and activities offered at a university. Pregnant students also have the right to be excused from class if their doctor says it is necessary. If a student misses an exam due to childbirth, they must be allowed to make it up. A university cannot force pregnant students to enter into pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting classes against their will: all involvement must be voluntary. Furthermore, schools cannot force pregnant students and new mothers to take time off against their wishes or change their academic plans. For instance, a school cannot require new mothers to change their major or only take classes in the evening.
If any student feels they have been discriminated against due to their pregnancy or parenting status, they should visit the Title IX Office located in 2241 Murphy Hall. The office will not only investigate any discrimination, but they will also refer them to the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) for the various accommodations they may need. Student can also find Title IX resources on the office’s UCLA website.
There are other resources available on and near campus for pregnant students and soon to be student parents. Title IX rights are just the bare minimum. The Claris Health Care Center in West Los Angeles, for example, can provide students with free pregnancy testing, parenting classes, ultrasounds, education on their options, and much more. A complete list of their services and their location can be found at their website or they can be contacted at (310)-299-7181.
Past pregnancy, a great resource for new student parents is the University Parents Nursery School, located at 3233 Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 200, Los Angeles. This center provides childcare services in the morning, afternoon, and full day programs for UCLA students, staff, and faculty members. Applications, rates, waiting list statuses, and more information about the School can be found on their website.
Being pregnant at UCLA can be terrifying and full of many uncertainties. However, knowing your rights as a pregnant student and future student parent as well as understanding the resources available to you can make the situation not only less daunting, but empowering.