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Following her own abortion, Durham County commissioner pushes for local health departments to provide options, access for abortions

As access to abortion care changes quickly across the United States, one Durham County commissioner is lobbying for the local health department to provide options and access for women. Her cause is rooted in her own personal choice to have an abortion of her own.

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By
Julian Grace
, WRAL anchor/reporter
DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. — As access to abortion care changes quickly across the United States, one Durham County commissioner is lobbying for the local health department to provide options and access for women. Her cause is rooted in her own personal choice to have an abortion of her own.

The conversation led by Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam started the conversation at this week's meeting, and now, it will be presented as a proposal in the commissioners' meeting in August.

"I had an abortion that saved my life," Allam said at the meeting.

Over te past year, the Allams have shared their journey publicly.

"Growing up, culturally, this is something we wouldn't discuss publicly," said Allam's husband Towqir Aziz. "It would be kept between a husband and wife."

In 2021, the couple was excited to welcome their first child. But, they received devastating news that the pregnancy was outside the womb and would not be viable.

"We had to get the abortion to make sure all of the cells in my body did not continue to grow … because that could of cause a rupture and me not being able to have children again or my death," said Allam.

Allam said she's seen protests following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week which overturned Roe v. Wade. Now, she's pushing a proposal that would allow the Durham County Health Department to perform abortions.

She believes this is critical because abortions are legal in North Carolina, and she believes the county could see people from states where abortions are banned coming into North Carolina to get one.

"As Durham County, the most progressive county in the district, how are we going to step up?" Allam questioned.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Rebecca Kreitzer said it would be an up-hill battle to get approved. In 2013, North Carolina's 'Motorcycle Law' was passed, which implented stricter regulations for abortions.

Kreitzer said the law is filled with requirements, such as staffing, certain types of ventilation system and construction requirements, that would make it difficult and costly to start an abortion clinic.

"These are the sort of things that are cost prohibitive," said Kreitzer.

Allam said, so far, she hasn’t received any push back and other commissioners seem open to the concept.

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