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Pregnant Teen Barred From Walking In Graduation At Christian High School

By Aimee Lutkin

The New York Times recently did a profile on the contradictory case of Maddie Runkles, an 18-year-old Maryland high school student who has become the center of a controversy at the small private Christian Heritage Academy. Runkles is pregnant and vehemently anti-choice. 

Obviously, for her the only option is to have her baby, and it's a decision she's proud of. But it also means she won't be allowed to walk in her own graduation ceremony. 

Runkles has a 4.0 GPA, plays on the soccer team, and was on the student council, until she was removed, also because of her pregnancy. Runkles decided to make her situation public, and reached out to anti-choice group Students for Life, which attracted media attention everywhere.

It's a difficult case for the school board. As reported by the New York Times, Students at Heritage Academy are expected to abide by a "statement of faith" which includes the premise that "no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of the marriage commitment between a man and a woman."

Runkles has made the choice to carry her baby to term, and lost the respect and support of the community she's devoted so much time and energy to. Though Runkles might not see it this way, to many, her situation points out the hypocrisy of so many anti-choicers: they believe in life at all costs, but not in supporting a mother and child. To some, it feels like they'll protect your fetus, but not you. 

To give Students For Life credit, they have vehemently defended Runkles, with their president Kristan Hawkins telling the NYT, "She made the courageous decision to choose life, and she definitely should not be shamed. There has got to be a way to treat a young woman who becomes pregnant in a graceful and loving way."