[April 25, 2008, Alexandria, Virginia] 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 SurveySM 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 ForumSM 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 had the pleasure of meeting with Patricia Heaton and Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, along with other members of Pepperdine's task force on student pregnancies when they visited campus last April for the [Pregnancy Resource Forum]," Mark Davis, Pepperdine's Dean of Student Affairs, said. "FFL provided a helpful structure for reviewing the issue, and the visit by Patricia and Serrin was inspirational."
"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.