The Associated Students of UNM failed a resolution that would have asked the UNM Women’s Resource Center to add options for pregnant students on their website.
Before the resolution was brought to ASUNM Senate by its author, Sen. Sadé Patterson, she met with the Women’s Resource Center to see if the suggestion could be turned into action. Not only was it viable, but WRC staff already implemented the changes before the senate meeting, updating the site with Patterson’s suggested resources to the Parenting Resources (Health and Wellness) section.
The added resources include: Care Net Pregnancy Center, Women’s Pregnancy Options, Adoption Assistance, Lovelace Labor of Love and the Barrett House.
Students spoke during the public comment component of the Senate meeting, conveying concerns over the alleged political agendas of the new resources, stating that they are primarily pro-life advocates.
Lili Malkoski, a senior psychology major, said the added resources are in conflict with the WRC’s values of enhancing student success.
“(The new options) compromise these values because these organizations are not focused on the academic, personal and professional aspects of student lives, but rather aim to force women to carry a pregnancy whether wanted or not,” she said.
Malkoski also said these organizations have political agendas through their affiliation with Forty Days for Life — a religious protest movement against health organizations that provide abortion service — as well as an affiliation with Students for Life, a group that opposes access to abortion and advocates for strictly abstinence-based sex education. Students for Life also has strong political ties to special interests in limiting sexual transmitted infection testing and access to birth control on campus.
Patterson provided her thoughts during the public comment from the perspective of a student.
“I placed at an unplanned pregnancy my sophomore year, and I received help from Lovelace Labor of Love — it’s just a hospital that provides pregnancy services. They are not political affiliation whatsoever,” she said. “I also received a lot of help from Women’s Pregnancy Options and Care Net Pregnancy Center... I know from getting help from these organizations that they are not political at all. These organizations helped me and a lot of people I have worked with.”
When the resolution to support this push was brought to the Senate on Wednesday, Patterson asked to strike it from the agenda after public comment, since the WRC had already accomplished what the resolution was seeking.
However, the resolution remained on the agenda due to a procedural stipulation that requires senators to be able to speak on it.
Senator Hallie Brown said ASUNM opposed the legislation, saying the undergraduate student governing body should be conscious of what these websites promote. She added that ASUNM does not take a political stand on any topic, and approving this resolution would be doing just that.
“I think it has been made clear through these testimonies (from students) that the Women’s Resource Center does provide an unbiased nonpartisan support to students, faculty, staff and community members,” Brown said. “Senators are responsible for representing the voice of students, and I feel as though this resolution is not doing so and is instead promoting a political agenda that is no way the role of ASUNM.”
Wednesday’s ASUNM Senate meeting was the last for the fall semester.
Denicia Aragon is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @deniciaaragon98.