Pro-choice activists, politicians and others associated with Planned Parenthood gather for a news conference and demonstration at City Hall against the Trump administrations title X rule change on February 25, 2019, in New York City.
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

When I was 19 years old, I walked into a health center in Michigan knowing I was pregnant but uncertain of my future. To this day, I remember the compassion and grace of the nurse who helped me, who saw me scared and crying but calmly let me know that I had options. I could give birth and raise a child, I could pursue adoption, or I could have an abortion—an abortion that she told me was my right if I wanted it, and she reminded me that I didn’t have to carry any shame about my decision.

It was a relief. I have not always had positive interactions with doctors and nurses—an experience many other black women share, rooted in our country’s dark history. From forced sterilization to substandard care, the mistreatment of black women by some in the medical community is a horrific truth that we must actively address. Advocates are speaking out about the importance of listening to and being honest with, black patients. And health care providers across the country, like Planned Parenthood, are working to improve patient care for black women.