Would you accept assistance of any kind from a group of men with whom you were not familiar? What if they were also middle-aged and gathered outside wearing coats? What if they were also sitting in lawn chairs? What if those lawn chairs were situated by the street curb? As enticing as the image is that I paint, the clincher for your decision would surely be that they held handmade signs saying, “We can help!” And as if that weren’t enough, and it should’ve been, one of the men is dressed up as Jesus.
Such was the sight this week as I took my husband to and from his doctor’s appointment in a building located next door to the only Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility. I emphasize “only” because a billboard in this town to which we’ve recently relocated notes that there used to be two facilities. The insinuation is that the billboard’s sponsor had something to do with the closure. One can’t be sure because it doesn’t explain how or why this is – just as the men’s handmade signs didn’t say what kind of “help” they offered.
Under all other circumstances, these men would be considered vagrants and their offers of “help” could be considered a threat to public health if they were acted upon. Given the outdoor, coat-wearing, lawn-chaired, curbside men’s proximity to the Planned Parenthood facility, I would strongly encourage every person — female and male — on their way to Planned Parenthood and who might be drawn in by the men’s homemade proposition to lend a hand (whether it’s sanitized and gloved or not) to seek board-certified and state-licensed medical professionals for whatever ails them.
The services offered by the health care providers at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood include anemia testing; cholesterol screening; diabetes screening; high blood pressure screening; smoking cessation; thyroid screening; colon cancer screening; jock itch exam and treatment; testicular and prostate cancer screening; urinary tract infection testing and treatment; testing, diagnosis and treatment for Chlamydia, genital warts and gonorrhea; testing for HIV and other STDs; STD prevention (condoms, female condoms, dental dams and HPV vaccine); STD/safer sex education; pregnancy testing; ultrasounds; adoption referrals; fertility awareness education; postpartum exams; trained staff to discuss your options with you if you are pregnant and about miscarriage and treatments; copper IUD insertion; rape crisis counseling referrals; medication if you are Rh negative; antibiotics or other medications; breast exams; cervical cancer screening; colposcopy; cryotherapy; hormone replacement therapy; treatment of abnormal pap; mammogram referrals; menopause and midlife testing and treatment; Pap test; vaginal infection testing and treatment; and help with irregular periods or no periods, painful periods, painful sex, bleeding between periods, menstrual problems (premenstrual syndrome) or even a lost tampon.
Wait, did I miss something? Yep. Unlike the men who aren’t man enough to say or write on a sign exactly why they’re hovering around uninvited outside a medical facility like the weirdoes who hope the staff will accidentally throw out a stray kidney, I’ll gladly point you in the direction of 100% of the services offered by the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, less than one percent of which are abortion services.
I’m still not sure what those men were offering in the way of “help,” but I’m hoping it doesn’t involve a speculum or colonoscopy tube because several of them were licking cheese puff dust off their fingers.