Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It is time to celebrate "Back up your birth control Day"

So once upon a time I was denied access to emergency contraception by a medical provider. I hadn't had unprotected sex or missed a daily pill or was off on my Depo. Nope, I just wanted to be prepared for the future if I were to ever need Plan B. I'll save that story for another time...but the reality is, plenty of individuals and groups are being denied access which is a violation of basic human rights.

Recent news has focused on Native Americans: read here and teens: read here

So devoted readers, I ask you this: Have you ever been denied EC? Had an access problem (distance, time of day, cost, insurance coverage, etc)?

Finally, how are you celebrating today???


  1. I've taken EC twice. My first experience was the really instructive one.

    I was 18 years old, and had been having an argument with my boyfriend, but we ended up talking it out -- naked, which is what we used to do when we wanted to be close and have a serious talk -- and felt so much better that we ended up having sex. Whoops. Actually, he probably spent less than 20 seconds (!!!) inside me before we both were like "OH HOLY SHIT WHAT ARE WE DOING" and disengaged, but I was so freaked out in the days that followed!

    We made plans for him to pick me up at the neighborhood Planned Parenthood, but my online research gave me reason to think that Plan B cost as much as $80 or $90 (!!!), so my best friend came over with a wad of bills so I'd have enough. As it turns out, Title X allow state and federal funds to provide some kinds of birth control for free to people under 20! So after a questionnaire and a wait of two hours (!!!) and a counseling/education session, I walked out of PP having paid nothing, feeling a huge relief, and feeling like I had just learned a lot about my body and my ability to track down resources.

    I took it all very seriously. They said I might feel nauseous, and I didn't want to throw up the pills, so I followed their advice and got some Dramamine and took that and the EC right before bed. (I didn't get nauseous at all.) All told, I was way more nervous than I needed to be.

    But still: a boyfriend with a car, an internet connection and privacy, a supportive friend, a PP nearby, a state that accepted Title X funds, a friendly and helpful staff person -- if I hadn't had those my experience would have been a lot harder, and I might have ended up unhappily pregnant.

    1. R, thanks for sharing your personal experience. I took EC once about ten years ago and was also fortunate enough to have the resources to obtain the pills and the knowledge to navigate the system. I had to call a hotline (Planned Parenthood) and then then called in a presscription for me to a pharmacy. I was warned by lots of people that I would have nausea, but that never happened! Crazy to think if I didn't have access I could have a pre-teen right now (or an abortion under my belt!).

  2. Hey VV,

    I have not personally been denied EC, but once when I sent my boyfriend to go get it for us, he was denied. We were actually both at Target, getting groceries, and I sent him to the pharmacy to buy it. The pharmacist-in-charge said that she could not sell EC to men, period. He asked why and she said it enabled rapists (!) and that only *women* over 18 could buy it. So, after relaying this to me in the cereal aisle, I furiously storm over to the pharmacy and demand to know why this idiot won't sell my boyfriend EC and why she believes he is a rapist (I should also note that my boyfriend is a minority in the reddest state in the union, which is probably why she made the quip about rapists). I informed her that denying EC to men is a violation of their constitutional right of equal protection and that I was calling the ACLU and filing a complaint with the pharmacy board.

    After contacting the ACLU, they got Target to change their pharmacy training program to explicitly teach their pharmacists that despite their personal objections to selling EC, that they could not discriminate on the basis of gender as long as the customer was over 18.

    The pharmacy board of my state protected her "right to refuse" (although the statute actually says that they can only morally refuse abortifacents- which EC is not). So there were no real consequences to her except a demotion at Target.

    So, I feel better that this won't happen to other men who buy EC at Target. But I realize that this happens all the time, all over the country, and it makes me sick. It took two people to have sex, either one of them should be able to take responsibility for contraceptive use. Men who take care of their partners should not be thwarted by pharmacists.

    Thanks for listening!

  3. Oh my dog. Hilary, I cannot BELIEVE you had to go through that, and yet I applaud you most heartily for what you did. You are a true warrior!

  4. Wow Hilary, I second what AA said. You rock and thank you for standing up for so many people/issues/voices.

  5. So much concern about getting pregnant and been able to terminate it...what about getting HIV and STDs while having unprotected sex, do you go check if you got those as fast as you go get a day after pill??

  6. I'm not sure if Virginia ever saw our blog post dedicated to their "question", but in case they ever check back (haw), here's our thoughtful answer:


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.