"When girls like me who go to pro-life schools make a brave pro-life decision, we shouldn’t be hidden away in shame," 18-year-old Madeline Runkles writes in the Washington Post. Everything was going as planned for Runkles: She was president of the student council with a 4.0 GPA at her Christian high school in Maryland and ready to graduate in the spring. Then in January she found out she was pregnant. Her parents were supportive, telling her "God is in this somewhere," but her school, which has students take a pledge of chastity, took quick action. Runkles would not be allowed to walk at graduation and was stripped of her various school leadership positions. She says the school's decision "felt overly harsh."
It got worse. The principal called an assembly to inform students and their families of Runkles' pregnancy. Runkles volunteered to tell them herself, reading a statement and calling it "one of the hardest things I ever did." She's worried seeing how she was treated will inspire a student in her situation to get an abortion, something Runkles briefly considered. "I had seen women being forgiven who admitted to having abortions, while women who kept their babies seemed to be harder to forgive." But despite the way she's been treated, Runkles says she wouldn't change her decision to have the baby. "I want other girls in my position to know you don’t have to give in to pressure or fear of judgment." Read the full piece here.