In 2005, incensed that the FDA, which, at the time, was so under the thumb of the woman-hating, sex-hating, body-hating, science-hating Bush administration that it made a decision that Plan B contraception would not be available at pharmacies to those under the age of 18, AND, really pissed off that there were pharmacists who were claiming that their morals didn't allow them to dispense the drugs, I wrote the following, in which I offered to serve as a drug mule for underage girls:
The FDA got it half-right this morning. Plan B contraception has been cleared for over the counter dispensation, but only if you are over the age of 18. Younger than 18? You're shit outta luck, unless you're willing to go to the doctor's office and get a prescription yourself. How you're supposed to do that without your parent's knowledge, since I'm assuming they'll get the insurance bills, is beyond me. If you're lucky, there will be a Planned Parenthood office in your town. But again, that will require luck.
So, here's the deal. I am making a pledge, which I fully intend to keep. If you need Plan B contraception, and you contact me, I will go to my local pharmacy and get it for you. Your parents don't have to know.
The CWFA will likely lobby Congress for a bill that will make my activities illegal, but I do not give a rat's ass for what the CWFA thinks of me.This is an act of civil disobedience.
I am a whore. Or at least, that's what I think I'm supposed to accept these days. You see, I've used Plan B contraception--twice--because, for various reasons, I didn't use birth control while I was having sex, and because, at 41, I do not want to get pregnant again, I resorted to Plan B. Pharmacists who want to dispense shame would think of me as a whore.
The pharmacists who refuse to dispense the medication, even with a doctor's prescription, claim to be doing so because it's against their morals to do so. They claim they're saving fetuses. But really? I think they're punishing women who have sex. Again.
Rather than fight them on this, allow them to cast shame on me for being sexually active and single, I'm just going to come out and say it. I am a whore. I don't want to get pregnant. I have the wherewithall to fight you, but many, many women--those who feel shame about having sex in this culture don't have the resources to fight you. And so I'm fighting this on their behalf.
Acquiring Plan B contraception is not as easy as it is made out to be. Several months ago, I started dating a man, things progressed quickly one hot, lazy summer afternoon, and we had sex. The next morning, I woke up, counted days, felt the familiar twinge in my side, and realized I was ovulating. Plan B seemed like a damned good idea. I called my doctor's office. I asked the receptionist to have one of the docs phone in a prescription for Plan B. "We don't do that," she said, in an extremely tight voice. I could hear the disapproval dripping from her voice. I called Planned Parenthood, got an appointment for that morning. I had to pay a full appointment fee and then pay for medication. Not cheap. But I did it. And, I'm delighted to say, did not get pregnant that month.
A few weeks later, I was in to see my doctor for my regular check-up. I asked her why they wouldn't phone in Plan B contraception prescriptions. "But we do," she said. I told her what happened. It seems the receptionist had taken it upon herself to deny me Plan B. I have a feeling that said receptionist was going to be in big trouble after I left.
A few months after that, I had cause to use Plan B again. This time, my doctor's office called the prescription in to my local pharmacy and I picked it up later that day. The pharmacist, who dispenses all of my pills, handed me the drugs with no hassles or lectures, simply asked me if I had any questions. What a relief.
Why am I telling you all of this? For several reasons.
First. Even for me, acquiring Plan B contraception the first time turned out to be a hassle and fairly expensive. If I had been in different circumstances, I may have given up before I got the medication, and then, voila, a few weeks later, may have found myself facing an unwanted pregnancy.
Second. It doesn't really matter how many pharmacists are, in fact, refusing to dispense the medication. The fact that the ones who are refusing are garnering so much attention means that any woman who gets Plan B is going to have to worry that she's going to get the pharmacist who's going to refuse.
In the late 19th century, the Comstock laws made it a federal offense for certain information to cross state lines. In other words, magazines and mail that contained information about birth control was not allowed to circulate. Even though many of the methods of birth control we have now--condoms, diaphragms, and others--were available, the information that they existed could not circulate freely in the culture. Women often didn't know that they had options.
Increasingly, it's not that birth control is not available, it's that the knowledge that it's available is being repressed. If you live in a small town and need Plan B, are you going to know where you can go if your local pharmacist decides not to dispense your prescription? How can we help these women?
Finally, the pharmacist's job is not to dispense shame. I don't know what the figures are for men who've attempted to have their Viagra prescriptions filled and been denied. I can't imagine that there's been a lot of these cases. Because, when it all comes down to it, it's still okay for men to have sex. But, because I have sex, and I want access to birth control after the fact, I'm a whore.
I think I'm going to have that embroidered on a pillow.
Needless to say, even among my liberal posters, my plan to start a Plan B underground was seen as usurping a parent's right to be involved in their child's sexual health decisions. But you know what? After your child becomes sexually active, you don't get to be a part of that unless your child asks you to. I'm sorry to say, but that's the way it works. Either your kid trusts you enough to talk to you about sex, or they don't. And if they don't, well tough shit for you.
Today, a judge finally declared that, at least in terms of 17-year olds, the decision to limit Plan B contraception to those over 18 was a "political decision."
"These political considerations, delays, and implausible justifications for decision-making are not the only evidence of a lack of good faith and reasoned decision-making," Korman said. "Indeed, the record is clear that the FDA's course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency's normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug product from prescription to non-prescription use."
See? This is why some of us are so damned pissed off about the way women are treated. You can buy cold medicine that may screw up your heartbeat, you can buy Tylenol and Ibuprofen, which in overdoses can be fatal, but be a 17-year old who just had sex and thinks, "I don't want to get pregnant," and the Bush administration decided you should remain screwed.
So, the question is, will the drug now be available over the counter to younger women?
You know the social conservatives "decried" the decision. Do you want to know why? The social conservatives argue that girls under the age of 18 could be forced to take Plan B contraception by those who are sexually abusing them.
I want you to think about that for a moment. They want to deny 14-year old incest victims from obtaining Plan B because it might be coerced, but, should a 14-year old find herself pregnant because she's been raped, well, that's just dandy. Go ahead and have the baby. That's what God would want.
So, I'm repeating my promise of 2005. If you are under the age of 17, and you need Plan B contraception, send me a PM, and I will make sure that you get it.