Title IX protects pregnant women

Title IX protects pregnant women

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Heather Littleton’s due date was Feb. 2. She’s hoping the baby comes sooner rather than later; things are beginning to get a little “uncomfortable” in there.

“I don’t think she’s ready yet, but I’m crossing my fingers,” Littleton said.

Littleton will be giving birth to a little girl named Halo any day now.  Littleton wasn’t aware, but she has rights as a pregnant woman in college under Title IX.

Title IX is the federal law requiring all schools and universities who receive federal funding not to exclude anyone on the basis of sex.  Since women are the only ones who can become pregnant, if they are discriminated against due to pregnancy; it is on the basis of sex.

Annie Kerrick, Title IX/ 504 coordinator, wants students to know and use their rights.

“I wanted students to know that they cannot be excluded from participating in any part of the educational program or activities here on Boise State because of pregnancy,” Kerrick said.

This means pregnant women have automatically excused pregnancy-related absences. This specifically covers pregnancy related illness, false pregnancy, pregnancy termination, childbirth and recovery.

“We have to excuse absences because of pregnancy as long as is medically necessary,” Kerrick said.

Kerrick encourages students to talk to her when they become pregnant so she can help them as much as possible.

“If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, come talk to me,” Kerrick said. “Students can come talk to me and I can keep documentation and work with the faculty member to make sure the student is given time to make up the work.”

She went on to say sometimes simply making up the work isn’t enough.

“Sometimes there are complications that cannot be resolved in a couple of days. It may not be reasonable for the student to make up that work but we can work with the student in other ways such as withdrawing from the class without penalty,” Kerrick said.

Kerrick is not positive if Title IX covers fathers in any way.

“That is an issue that has come up, but I’m not totally sure,” Kerrick said. “Just come talk to me. We want to do what’s best for our students.”

Title IX also protects pregnant women from any kind of harassment that may happen because she is pregnant.

Littleton had never heard of Title IX but plans on taking advantage of it soon.

“It’s hard to be pregnant, in college and working hard time. It’s a lot. It’s exhausting,” Littleton said.

Littleton has not yet had to miss school due to pregnancy but fears she might soon.

“I’ve been very lucky. As I’ve been getting closer to giving birth, I’ve been stressing and worried about class,” Littleton said.

In addition to the services Kerrick’s office provides, pregnant women can also seek help from the Women’s Center.

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