The Coalition for Pregnant and Parenting Students Advocacy is a diverse group of advocates and experts dedicated to advancing civil rights protections and institutional resources for pregnant and parenting students. We applaud the Department of Education for finalizing critical updates to its regulations interpreting and enforcing Title IX. These highly anticipated updates restore and reinforce vital civil rights protections for all students to access school spaces and programs free from sex discrimination—including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or parental status.

We commend the Biden administration for listening to the voices of students, advocates, parents, educators, and researchers who demanded clearer and stronger Title IX protections. This rule is essential to ensure that all students—including survivors of sexual assault and harassment, pregnant and parenting students, and LGBTQIA+ students—are able to learn in a safe and welcoming environment.

Pregnant and parenting students face many barriers to completing their education, including harassment, discrimination, and lack of institutional support. Their needs are often overlooked and conduct that violates Title IX’s guarantees has been repeatedly ignored. Pregnant and parenting students deserve better. They should not be stigmatized or face discrimination that interrupts their education. They should be provided with resources, accommodations, and support throughout their education, as required under Title IX. 

Despite pregnant and parenting students earning higher GPAs than their non-parenting peers, they frequently lack the support they need to combat the immense pressure they face to drop classes or withdraw from school entirely. This pressure comes both from unsupportive educators and institutional barriers to completing their education. According to the CDC, roughly 50% of teenagers who become pregnant and give birth withdraw from school and do not receive their high school diplomas by age twenty-two. Research indicates that unlawful discrimination plays a major role in this dropout rate.

Title IX provides critical protections for pregnant and parenting students. Since its enactment in 1975, Title IX has protected students and school employees from sex discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy or recovery from these conditions. 

Now, the Biden administration’s updates to the Title IX regulations provide greater clarity on pregnant and parenting students’ rights, and include affirmative steps schools must take to ensure that pregnant and parenting students are aware of their rights. This includes: 

  • Clarifying explicitly that schools can’t discriminate based on lactation (in addition to existing prohibitions on discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from these conditions).
  • Prohibiting schools from excluding pregnant and parenting students from school activities like a science lab or physical fitness activity based on regressive sex stereotypes that are not based on  the health or medical realities of being a pregnant or parenting person.
  • Ensuring that pregnant and parenting students can take voluntary leaves of absence and be reinstated to their prior status, so that they don’t have to choose between their health (or the health of their pregnancy or child) and their education.
  • Requiring schools to reasonably accommodate pregnant and parenting students (instead of tying their accommodations to what is offered to temporarily disabled students), including by providing students with a lactation room.
  • Offering privacy protections for personally identifiable information—an especially important safeguard post-Dobbs.

Pregnant and parenting students deserve to have an educational experience free from stigma, discrimination, and shame, as well as the support necessary to graduate on time and thrive in their education. They deserve to have their basic needs met, including accessible and affordable child care, increased funding for on-campus child care, access to quality early childhood education, transportation, food, lactation accommodations, housing, clothing, mental health services, and more. 

We look forward to working with the Biden administration and school administrators to ensure the Title IX rule is implemented swiftly and effectively—because pregnant and parenting students deserve it.

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Please see the following resources on the final Title IX Rule created by our coalition members:

A Better Balance:

The Pregnant Scholar at The Center for WorkLife Law:

SPARK Collaborative: