Today is Back Up Your Birth Control Day in America. This action is to draw attention to these facts among others;
– Most teenagers in the U.S. don’t have access to EC over-the-counter (but they do in areas of Alaska, California, Vermont, Hawaii, Washington, Maine, New Hampshire and New Mexico)
– Despite the over-the-counter status, low-income and immigrant women still have issues of access to emergency contraception
– More than 60% of voters say they do not know about EC or any product that has been proven effective in preventing pregnancy when used within days after unprotected sex
You can read Biting Beavers’ story of trying to get EC here
or this story
The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn’t want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.
I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we’re starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.
The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy — but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we’re both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren’t planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception. I wanted to make sure that our momentary lapse didn’t result in a pregnancy.
The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given. Neither did my internist. The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day. The weekend — and the end of the 72-hour window — was approaching.
To add insult to injury, here’s what Dr. Joe Kearns, former medical director of Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, had to say:
“People drive to Reading to buy jeans. Even if that were the case, that you had to drive to Reading to get this [prescription], to me that does not rise to a compulsion that you have to pass laws that [doctors] have to do something.”
I am struggling to understand how a woman–who has just been raped!–would find a trip to Reading to get a prescription for emergency contraception (EC) similar to a road trip she might take with her girlfriends to buy a new pair of jeans.
Although legally women in Canada are allowed to buy EC OTC there are many instances of pharmacies not carrying it or pharmacists exercising “freedom of conscience”.
And our current fundamentalist friendly government who have already shown themselves ready to turn back the clock with cuts to SWC and removal of equality from the mandate, would be only too happy to partner with these same groups to deny women reproductive choice.