Hawkins: Female College Athletes Pressured into Having Abortions to Stay at Peak Condition

AP Sean Rayford
AP Photo/Sean Rayford

Female college athletes are forced to withstand a campaign of pressure to terminate pregnancies in order to stay in top condition, according to a piece in the Washington Examiner.

One U.S. Olympic gold medalist, Sanya Richards-Ross, recently admitted to Sports Illustrated that she was pressured to have an abortion just ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Richards-Ross claimed that she didn’t know any female athletes who hadn’t had an abortion to keep them in competition, according to the Washington Examiner.

“I literally don’t know another female track and field athlete who hasn’t had an abortion,” Richards-Ross said.

The Examiner says that female athletes are left ignorant of their reproductive rights, as abortion is exclusively pushed as the sole solution to their “problem.” Indeed, Examiner author Kristan Hawkins claims that this situation may be a breach of federal law:

The question is this: Why are the schools, coaches, staff, and professors in these students’ lives doing almost nothing to ensure that they are apprised of their rights under Title IX? Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities at schools that receive federal taxpayer funding. In other words, it is against the law for a student to lose her scholarship or be kicked off her sports team for being pregnant.

Hawkins goes on to point out that many women suffer terribly in college because of the mental anguish over the pressure placed on them to terminate their pregnancies.

“Through the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, Students for Life America staff and student leaders have responded to dozens of complaints from pregnant students who were told to drop out of school, were dropped from or failed out of classes, and even lost financial aid. In many cases, SFLA staff has had to explain to the students what the Title IX violation was so that they could then advocate for themselves because Title IX coordinators were not providing them the correct information, or were directly complicit in the action,” Hawkins writes.

Hawkins also notes that Planned Parenthood is likely violating Title IX rules, too, because the organization does not inform students of all their options under the law.

Ultimately, Hawkins says pregnant women are mistreated in colleges across the country.

“No woman should be forced to choose between her pre-born child and her athletic and educational future,” Hawkins concludes. “The law says they don’t have to pit one against the other. It’s time for those in charge of athletic programming to stop forcing a choice for abortion.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.