National #pinkoutday
Image: Charlotte Cooper / CC BY 2.0

Today’s column encompasses two things important to me in different ways, and the connection is the color pink.

National #pinkoutdayCongress is redder than it’s been since 1931 (remember what was going on then!), which is why I’m wearing pink today. It’s National #PinkOutDay, a day to tell legislators at all levels that enough is enough: the exaggerated, flagrantly untrue, atrocious attacks on Planned Parenthood must stop! One in five women in the United States has visited a PP health care center. Look around you. If you can see five women, then statistically one of them has had some contact with PP. I know, I’m one of them!

Many people have written rebuttals to Congress’s attempts to shut down PP, and I recommend two written by local women.

Marianne Mansfield, a sister writer here at The Indy, wrote an excellent column, “The Planned Parenthood video is a red herring.” It details the depths to which Congress, state legislatures, and “wannabe presidents” are sinking in their quest to shut down a nonprofit organization that annually provides health care services to 2.7 million women and men in our country.

National #pinkoutdayThe other is “The Truth about Planned Parenthood” by Leigh Washburn of Cedar City. She cites statements made by John Boehner, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio that are ludicrous. I recommend you read both articles (after you finish this one, of course!).

I have a personal connection with Planned Parenthood that began forty years ago. It provided me with health services when I was a college student and no longer covered under my parents’ insurance (there was no Obamacare back then to provide it!). It allowed me—not someone like Congressman Stewart, Senator Lee, or Rep. Ipson—to make decisions about my reproductive health. Other women in my family are part of that one-in-five I mentioned earlier, and we are all grateful for the positive role PP has played in our lives.

National #pinkoutdayYou may remember that, in my first column, I wrote about relocating my mother, Gladys, to an assisted living facility in St. George. As luck would have it, we’re flying home from Michigan today. It gives me the opportunity to boldly and brightly show my support for Planned Parenthood as I travel across the country. Mom is wearing pink, too!

Which brings me to the other part of this week’s column.

It is because of this remarkable woman, who loves the color pink, that I am who I am today. We think of mothers on their birthdays and Mother’s Day, but I’m reflecting on mine today because she embodies why I actively support Planned Parenthood and the health services it offers. Mom provided me with learning opportunities to weigh options throughout my early life.

Did I want to wear the pink dress or the yellow dress? Did I want to belong to the Girl Scouts? Which school clubs did I want to join? Did I want to wash or dry the dishes? These may be simple alternatives in comparison to those I faced later in life: Should I get married? What do I want to be when I grow up? (I still haven’t made a final decision on that one!) Do I want to have a child? When do I want to start a family? How can I best contribute to society?

National #pinkoutdayWhat do those early decisions have to do with the latter ones? They provided me with opportunities to make simple decisions and gain confidence in my thinking skills without negative consequences. My two-year-old granddaughter, Abby, is honing those same skills as she watches Daniel Tiger learn to make decisions by following the “Stop, Think, Decide” guide.

This brings me back to the decisions being made by our national leaders that will directly impact the health of Washington County residents who visit the local Planned Parenthood Clinic at 595 S. Bluff St., suite 1, in St. George, for women’s and men’s health care, HIV testing, pregnancy testing and services, STD testing, treatment and vaccines, birth control, and general health care.

Stand up and be heard!

If you’re not already wearing pink today, you still have time to change or at least update your social media page to show support for National #PinkOutDay.