Pregnancy: Making A Decision
Accurate information and counseling are two important components in making the best decision about a pregnancy. There are a number of people on campus who are prepared to assist women and their partners. Information and counseling are available from the Health Center, Psychological Counseling Services, Peer Health and the Chaplains Office. Family Planning of Western Massachusetts in North Adams or Pittsfield also provides pregnancy counseling.
Making the choice to terminate a pregnancy in Massachusetts is any womans legal right. If a woman chooses the abortion option, the Health Center can make arrangements for her to have the procedure performed at Williamstown Medical Associates. For women who would like someone to accompany them, Peer Health can provide you a list of those willing to do so. The Health Center also offers aftercare for those women wishing to spend the night there after the procedure.
The specific abortion procedure used will depend on how many weeks have passed since the first day of your last menstrual period. The earlier an abortion is done, the safer and easier the procedure. In fact, the first trimester abortion (8-12 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period) is statistically safer than a tonsillectomy.
After an abortion, it is natural to experience a mixture of positive and negative feelings. A sense of relief may be complicated by sadness, guilt or a sense of loss. A woman may feel new strength and personal empowerment in having made and carried out an important and often difficult decision. If the pregnancy was caused by a birth control failure, unprotected intercourse or nonconsenual sex, a woman may feel angry about the abortion. It is common to have negative feelings about sex, particularly int ercourse, for a time following an abortion. The decision may also change a womans relationships with her partner, friends, or family. Emotionally recovering from an abortion may be a longer process for some women. This can be made easier with the help of a sympathetic and ideally objective friend, relative, counselor, or support group.
Adoption involves voluntarily transferring all responsibilities for the care of your child from the birth parent to adoptive parents. In Massachusetts, all adoptions are legally binding and are arranged through the court system and a licensed adoption agency. You should not sign adoption papers until you are completely sure of your decision. Independent adoption, placing the child directly with adoptive parents, is illegal. Legal and medical fees are usually covered by the agency and the adoptive parents. If the birth father can be identified, he will have to consent to the adoption.
Several area agencies can provide support in making decision regarding adoption. Some adoption plans allow a birth mother more choices and even knowledge of who will adopt her child. Places to turn for counseling and information include the Berkshire Center for Families and Children (Pittsfield 448-8281), North Adams Family Planning (663-8846), and Life Right of North Adams, Inc. (664-4106).
Having and Rearing a Child
Deciding to continue a pregnancy and raise a child is a serious commitment. Pre-natal care should begin immediately. Student health insurance covers neither pre-natal care nor delivery costs. This insurance provides no benefits for healthy newborns, but the health policy may be extended prior to delivery to cover the child as a dependent through the Bursars Office. At Williams, housing for a student who has a child will be arranged by the Dean's Office.
Return to Sex & Sexuality
Return to Pregnancy