What I Learned as a Women's Health Activist

In the midst of the Roe v. Wade anniversary and the continuing war on women, Colorlines' Samara Azam-Yu reflects on what she learned as a women's health activist when she stepped out of her comfort zone.

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Samara Azam-Yu writes at Colorlines that she learned quite a bit as a women's health advocate, despite beliefs she held from her conservative upbringing.

While volunteering, I had the honor of meeting incredible, resilient women who chose to terminate their pregnancies. The most striking part of this experience was when I realized that despite how seemingly different each woman is, we are also all deeply connected by the human experience, and that I needed to check my assumptions at the door.

Here are some things I learned when I began to leave my assumptions behind.

1) Teens often include their parents and have their parents' support in making decisions.

One of the first young women who came to stay with me was still in high school. She came to the San Francisco Bay Area on a bus with her mom. They didn't have a suitcase and had to borrow her mom's boyfriend's duffle bag and cell phone to make the journey. The mother was exhausted from a long bus ride from the Central Valley, but she really needed someone to talk to about her daughter. The mother also told me that she got pregnant and had her daughter at her daughter's age. Things had been difficult raising her daughter, and she wanted a better life for her. At least, she wanted her daughter to have the opportunity that she never had—to graduate from high school. It was hard for her to see her daughter pregnant, feeling sick, and vomiting, knowing that this was only the beginning.

Read Samara Azam-Yu's entire piece at Colorlines.

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