It is time to address the elephant, or perhaps the flamingo, in the room.
There appears to be a misconception in the community about our clinic, and we want to set the record straight. Reproductive Healthcare of the Big Horns does not offer abortions. We have also heard rumors that the pink flamingo is a symbol of abortion. The pink flamingo that adorns our building, posters and some of our other marketing items is a symbol of our annual fundraising event, The Pink Flamingo, and that is all it represents.
What services do we provide? Our medically-trained professionals perform annual exams identical to those offered by a women’s primary care provider. In 2018, we provided 253 Pap tests and 278 breast exams. We also provided sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing to 634 women and men last year, including Sheridan College students. Our services extend from reproductive health care to cancer screening, hypertension and anemia testing.
What sets RHBH apart? We are the one health clinic in Sheridan County that offers low- or no-cost reproductive health care services. In 2018 alone, we served close to 600 individual clients regardless of their ability to pay.
A U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention report released in 2018 states that the national abortion rate has declined 26 percent between 2006 and 2015, reaching the lowest level on government record. The biggest reason for this steep drop was better access to contraceptives, with the work of RHBH contributing to that decline. We are exceedingly proud of the services we provide to this community; we want to ensure that our role in Sheridan is understood for everything it is and nothing it is not.
When you see pink flamingos around town as we gear up for another fun night on March 16, we ask you to set national debates aside and remember what our clinic does every single week for our town and the surrounding communities. RHBH provides essential, affordable health care that keeps Sheridan residents healthy and thriving, and with your help and support we will always be able to do so.
For more information visit rhbh.org.
Amanda Alexander, executive director of Reproductive Healthcare of the Big Horns, wrote this guest column along with board members of the local nonprofit.