Before moving to the U.S., I dreamed about how different the health care system would be from the one I had grown up with. Living in the Middle East, most of the doctors you encounter treat medicine like a business. All they think about is money, and they have little to no concern for their patients’ needs.

I thought that the U.S. must be different, but arriving here I found it difficult to navigate even the most basic services.

Walking up Congress Street one day, I saw a group of women, dressed in pink. The women explained that they were from Planned Parenthood and they were out in Monument Square to support women’s health care.

I stuck around for the Pink Out rally and heard story after story of women who struggled with their health, struggled to get access to treatment, who needed access to birth control or breast exams or help with family planning. I started to feel like I finally belonged: These women struggled the same way I did and found a place where they could get treatment without judgment and without fear that they couldn’t afford it.

Meeting the women at Planned Parenthood and being part of the action that day made me realize I can take control of my body and health care.

Planned Parenthood is an amazing resource, especially for women who are scared or uninsured or women who just don’t know what sorts of health care services they could get.

Asmaa Al fayyadh

Westbrook