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Location: Pacific Northwest
Why are you excited to participate in Youth Testify?
I feel that it’s important for me to participate in Youth Testify because it gives me a platform to make change and talk about my experience. It’s also important for me as a Cambodian American to bridge my culture and the people in my community with talking about abortion access. It’s likely that people in my family and community have had them as well. It can be such an isolated feeling, during an abortion, and Youth Testify has communicated to young people that there is support, there are options, and there is a way to make the decision you want to make and feel completely comfortable with it.
What would you like to share about your abortion story?
I was very oblivious that I was pregnant. I had some symptoms–tiredness while walking and morning sickness while brushing my teeth–but because they were mild, I didn’t think anything of it. I started to get bigger, and my boyfriend suggested I take a pregnancy test. I cried for an hour outside of the clinic, and I was worried because I didn’t know what my options really were being that far along. I had to continue on, and go to work everyday. It was hard. But in the end, I was able to get the abortion; I received support from the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and traveled to my appointment in another city. I had to stay at someone’s house overnight for three days because it was too hard to do the 80 mile round-trip every day.
How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?
I am really excited to participate in efforts to lobby legislators and share my story in Washington, DC. I think it’s important that I am there, and I speak out, particularly as a Cambodian American woman. I never saw anyone like me advocating for abortion rights, and I want that to change.
What do you wish other young people knew about seeking abortion?
I wish young people knew there were funds available to help you access an abortion. There are people out there, who specifically organize to help you get an abortion. I was scared. I didn’t know how I would get the extra help to get to my appointment or pay for it, and they helped.
Why are you sharing your abortion story?
I hadn’t thought about sharing my story before. I didn’t think I was ready. But because I had the right support and resources, I feel like I can do it. Having people support me and make sharing comfortable, makes it possible for me to share my story and possibly reach others with my story.