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Patricia Heaton, two-time Emmy-winning actor and New York Times best-selling author, weighed in on a study released by Feminists for Life Wednesday, April 23.

In order to determine what students perceived about the availability of resources and support for pregnant and parenting students on their college and university campuses, Feminists for Life launched the first-ever nationwide Pregnancy Resources Survey SM in the fall of 2007.

The students’ revealing answers are unveiled in Feminists for Life’s groundbreaking study, Perception is Reality.

According to FFL’s report, responses to the survey reveal that either most surveyed campuses lack resources or that students—including student activists most interested in the provision of resources—are ignorant of the resources available. For pregnant and parenting students on those campuses, the perception that they have no resources or support is their reality.

Heaton said, “Through my experience addressing schools in the Los Angeles area, including UCLA, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount, I have been impressed by the desire of student activists to work toward solving problems and addressing difficulties for pregnant and parenting students on their campuses.”

“At Pepperdine, in particular, I got to witness firsthand a rapid response to Feminists for Life’s call to action on behalf of pregnant and parenting students. Resources and support became a real priority. Administrators and department heads immediately went to work transforming school policies.”

Heaton delivered her speech “Women Deserve Better than Abortion” at Pepperdine in March 2006, and returned for FFL’s Pregnancy Resource Forum SM at Pepperdine in April 2007.

The Forum inspired the creation of a task force on pregnancy and parenting to address a broad range of needs among student parents at Pepperdine University.

With input from FFL, the school began to create new policies, procedures and resources, and a plan of action for future development.

Recognizing that a woman who has just learned she is pregnant will want something concrete, Pepperdine’s health center created a handout including a statement of support from the university and elaborating the resources available both on and off campus.

“I appreciate the fact that Feminists for Life is willing to work with people on both sides of the abortion debate, bringing them to create holistic solutions for pregnant women and parents,” said Heaton. “It is my hope that the results of this study will encourage more people to take up this mission and move it forward.”

Patricia Heaton is Honorary Chair of Feminists for Life.

Heaton, recognized for her role as Debra on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” was awarded with back-to-back Emmys by her peers for the role. She now appears on Fox’s new television series “Back to You” with Kelsey Grammer of “Frasier” fame, which premiered in the fall of 2007. Heaton co-founded FourBoys Films with her husband, actor/producer David Hunt, and produced and starred in the TNT/FourBoys Films production The Engagement Ring. She starred in the TNT/Neil Simon production of The Goodbye Girl, and produced the movie Amazing Grace as well as the documentary film The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania.

To read the study and related documents, please visit

Feminists for Life is a non-sectarian, nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to empowering women through progressive, woman-centered solutions for themselves and their children. [25Apr08,]

“Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better than abortion.”


Report Reveals Lack of Awareness of College Resources for Pregnant Students

Feminists for Life of America has released Perception is Reality, a study of FFL’s first nationwide Pregnancy Resources Survey. FFL’s Pregnancy Resources Survey was created to discover students’ awareness of resources and support for pregnant and parenting students on college and university campuses.

This report, the first of its kind, highlights the perceptions that students have about resource availability on their campuses.

According to FFL’s report, responses to the survey reveal that either most surveyed campuses lack resources or that students – including student activists most interested in the provision of resources – are ignorant of the resources available.

FFL’s survey grew out of Feminists for Life’s Pregnancy Resource Forums. The forums were inspired by a Feminists for Life board member who shared her experience of facing an unplanned pregnancy while in college. “Without housing on campus for me and my baby, without on-site daycare, without maternity coverage in my health insurance, it sure doesn’t feel like I have much of a free choice,” she told the board in 1996.

In January 1997, FFL President Serrin Foster moderated the first of many Pregnancy Resource Forums in the country at Georgetown University to evaluate resources on and off campus as well as to help administrators and students create a blueprint for progress. “It appeared that either the resources were lacking or information about existing support was missing on many campuses,” said Foster.

“We needed to see if this was widespread.”

Perception is Reality shows that, among many issues, survey respondents were most confused or unaware of campus childcare options, school financial aid, and healthcare policies. “This survey confirms everything I have been told during the last decade of moderating Pregnancy Resource Forums on campuses across the country,” Foster said.

“Even when students who are not feeling the pressure of an unplanned pregnancy try to look for resources, either they can’t find them or the resources are inadequate or expensive. And perception is reality. A perceived lack of resources can drive pregnant women to abortion or result in parents dropping out of college to face a lifetime of poverty. Pregnant women and parents need and deserve better resources and easily accessible information.”

“Students’ difficulty finding answers to survey questions suggests a need for colleges to designate or establish a central office or staff person to guide pregnant and parenting students to the resources they need,” said FFL National Program Director Cayce Utley, M.A. Public Policy, who prepared the report.

See the full study online here:

[24Apr08, Washington, D.C.,]