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Sure, You Can Get Plan B In Rural Ohio
Plan B (the morning-after pill) is available, in a timely manner, in rural Ohio for only $2326.35! (That's the price of a last-minute flight to Paris, plus 8 euros for the pills):

NorLevo.jpg

This poor woman was literally fucked when the condom broke:

But I didn't panic, I thought to myself, with a huge sigh of relief, "Wow, thank goodness it's over the counter now!" and I fell asleep (since there are absolutely NO 24 hour pharmacies within 100 miles of me). Saturday morning I awoke and phoned the pharmacy. I asked them about EC and was told that they won't be stocking it until January 1st, until then it was still by prescription only.

Soooo, I phoned my doctors office which informed me that the office was closed and that I had to call the local hospital and have her paged in order to reach her on the weekend. So I called her and had them page her. A little while later she called back and I answered the phone immediately. She sounded tired and really grumpy; I apologized for having to page her for a thing like this and then asked her if I could get a prescription for EC. She explained that I needed to go to the Emergency Room to get it.

My heart fell, the ER has a 100$ co-pay attached to it. "Well," I thought to myself, "that's still better than the price of a kid" so I called the Emergency Room to verify the information and to ask what their procedures were. When I called the hospital they transferred me to the ER. I asked the nurse what the procedure was for EC and what would be the best time to come down there (I didn't want to wind up behind 3 critical people and end up waiting for 12 hours). The nurse responded in a small, questioning voice, "EC?" and so I explained. "Yes, Emergency Contraception. Plan B. You know, right?"

"Oh" she replies. "Hold on just a sec" and she puts me on hold.

A few moments later another nurse answers the phone. "Can I help you" he says.

"Yes," I reply "My name is BB and I was told that I need to come here to get a scrip for Plan B."

"Oh," he says, "Can you hang on a second?"

"Sure" I reply, becoming decidedly nervous.

He puts me on hold and I sit on the edge of the bed frowning and fiddling with a pen. I wait on hold for 15 minutes before he finally comes back on.

"Have you talked to your doctor?" he asks.

"Yes, I talked to her this morning and she told me to go to the ER" I reply.

"Oh, so she won't prescribe it for you?" he asks.

This possibility hadn't occurred to me. I just assumed that the ER was standard procedure, "Hmmm" I say, "Well, I guess not. It's not just standard procedure to go to the ER?"

"No, not really. We don't really have this happen much." He replies and then he says, "Well I called the pharmacy to ask them because I had heard that it was going over the counter. They told me that they won't sell it til the first of the year" I finished the sentence with him and explained that I had called the pharmacy first thing this morning and was told the very same thing.

"Well see," he begins, his voice dropping a little, "the problem is that you have to meet the doctor’s criteria before he'll dispense it to you."

"Criteria?" I question.

"Well," the nurse sounds decidedly nervous as though what he really wanted to do was hang up the phone completely, "Yes, his criteria. I mean...ummm...well, are you ok? Is there any, ummm....trauma?" he asks me.

My face changes expression and I hurry to explain, "No, no" I said, "No. I haven't been raped. This was consensual sex."

"Oh..." he trails off.

I wait expectantly.

"Well, ummm....*clears throat*...So you haven't been raped?" he asks again.

"No. I have not been raped. The condom broke". I state, becoming very frustrated at this point and wondering what the hell is going on.

"Ok, well ummm....Are you married?" he mumbles the words so low I can barely hear them.

Suddenly I get this image of the poor nurse standing at the hospital reading from a cue card that was given to him by a doctor.

"No." I state plainly. "I am not married. I've been in a relationship for several years and I have three children, I don't want a fourth." I respond tersely.

"Oh, I see." He says and then he hurries on, "Well, see. *I* understand. I want you to know that I understand what you're saying. But see, the problem is that we have 4 doctors here right now but only one of them ever writes EC prescriptions. But see, the thing is that he'll interview you and see if you meet his criteria. Now, I called the pharmacy but I also talked to him and well....*clears throat*....you can come down and try to get it. You know, if you meet his criteria he'll give you a prescription, I mean, there's really no harm in trying." the nurse trails off, his voice falters as I realize what I'm being told.

And no, this woman's doctor wasn't much help and the woman wasn't too aggressive about this -- but why should she have to be?

Thanks again, Bush voters. As I said just before the first GWB election:

I loathe John Kerry, but I'd vote for an autistic monkey before I vote for that fundamentalist, anti-science George Bush.

Here's a link for some women to get prescriptions, getthepill.com. Unfortunately, they say:

At this time, getthepill.com does NOT submit prescriptions to pharmacies that are located in the following states: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CT, DE, FL, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NV, OK, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, and WY.

Thanks, Deirdre, for the link.

Posted by aalkon at September 24, 2006 11:02 AM

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Comments

I'm lucky enough to have been one of the girls who came of age in the 70's when Planned Parenthood could do and say what they wanted to make sure young women recieved all the necessary information to keep them (us) happily and healthfully promiscuous, something I gather that birth control centers can't do now,what with facist christian controls on age, permisable info, etc. (I've lived overseas for 17 years and though I read the US press thoroughly, I'm not up to date with everything.)
If I can make a suggestion, please, all of you bloggers, encourage women to be prepared. Don't assume you'll be able to get plan B. Buy it when and where you can BEFORE YOU NEED IT, keep a couple of doses for yourself and for a friend, or even more than a couple and spread the word among your younger women (and male!) friends. If you can't get plan B, it is possible to survive with a jerry-rigged version of several everyday birth control pills in a couple of doses. Start an underground railroad of Plan B for those need it and spread the word (like women did about abortion in the 60's-70's. )Ideology is nice but action works better, and education, even at the grass roots level, is best (take it from a teacher). It's the 21st century, dammit....12 year old girls can see hard core porn on the internet but still aren't being taught responsible sexual behavior (which has nothing to do with celibacy).

Posted by: Lee Buckley at September 24, 2006 7:48 AM

I think we can get it over the counter here, so if someone can tell me if it's OK to mail to the US (you won't get charged with federal terrorism something or another) then get your Canadian friends to mail you a few paks. Or just take a road trip up here, and buy a stockpile for yourself and your friends. Hopefully they won't start banning condoms too!

I feel really sorry for all women who are having a nice normal sex life. All the hurdles and nonsense that everyone puts you though is BS. I hope things improve for you under the next administration.

Posted by: Canada (Chris) at September 24, 2006 8:09 AM

I just checked to be sure, and yes you can get it over the counter here, but the pharmacist will ask you a few questions first. They are only asking health related questions, so if you want a few on hand, as long as you're not taking anything else that would interfere with it or would cause a personal health risk, they would probably give it to you.

Good luck!

Posted by: Canada (Chris) at September 24, 2006 8:35 AM

That's why I have it stocked up.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 24, 2006 8:42 AM

Well, here I am turning the lights on again: have any of you written (not e-mailed, written) your Congresspeople and Senators yet -- or is it too important to yell about Mr. Bush again?

Even though I am fairly sure Mr. Clinton would push this stuff OTC - boy, could that bring some fun to the Oval Office! - the President is not the only governmental agent responsible for this.

Continually excusing Congress from their duty is not responsible citizenship.

Another thing:

Does the existence of a technology automatically entitle you to it?

Posted by: Radwaste at September 24, 2006 3:34 PM

BTW: Search for "levonorgestrel" on Pricegrabber.com. It's not cheap, but it's there for less than you cited.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 24, 2006 3:39 PM

I don't excuse Congress whatsoever -- and I blog plenty about this. Being a southern California resident, no I haven't written my Senators or Congressperson, as, well, let's just say I don't think Barbara or Dianne or Jane need my urging on this issue!

And perhaps I should've been more explicit than "Bush voters" above -- but it's the religious nutters who are responsible, led by the nutter-in-chief.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 24, 2006 4:41 PM

And the French may be overtaxed commies with an impenetrable social structure, but I do have to say, for years, I've been walking into pharmacies there and buying Plan B, over-the-counter. Sure, the pharmacist always wants to have a word with me: "Madame, you do understand these are not meant for regular birth control."

"Oui, I know...I live in a Puritanical country, so I buy them here for myself and my friends...just in case."

I started buying morning-after pills in France (and tossing them upon expiration -- not like I had lots of accidents!) after I once needed them in the USA. I had to wrangle a doctor appointment, go to my doctor, get pregnancy-tested (never mind listening to me that I wasn't pregnant -- we infantilize our women) and then go get a prescription. Silly unnecessary use of medical care -- under the guise of protecting women, but really about preventing easy access to birth control, huh?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 24, 2006 4:47 PM

One of the top three reasons you can't trust Republicans.

Everything you want from the pharmacy should be on demand. But who among you would disband the FDA?

After the IRS and the INS, I think the FDA is the worst offender of our liberty.

Posted by: jon at September 24, 2006 5:32 PM

So much for "getting government off our backs."

Posted by: Doobie at September 24, 2006 6:34 PM

"(never mind listening to me that I wasn't pregnant -- we infantilize our women)"

Of course we do, just like we infantilize everyone - because our legal system lets us blame the manufacturer for the misuse of their product. You get to be treated just like the woman planning to make millions off the manufacturer with a fraudulent claim of an "inadvertent" use when she meant to have a precious bundle of joy.

Birth defect later? Sue the company. Miscarriage? Sue the company, even if that's what their product is designed to do, for the "suffering". Mental problems with the next child? Sue the company.

And there is a precedent for assuming that a woman can't use good judgment when she comes to the pharmacist for this stuff: she couldn't or wouldn't use contra-ception properly.

And hey, Doobie, you want government "on your back" for all sorts of consumer protections. It's just that part of the deal means that you can't drug yourself willy-nilly.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 24, 2006 7:42 PM

Regulating drugs to assure their safety--that's good, I agree.


Treating people as though they're all helpless, non-thinking idiots...making it difficult--if not impossible--to get drugs easily available in other developed countries--that's bad.


Apples and oranges.

Posted by: Doobie at September 24, 2006 8:11 PM

Radwaste your an idiot.

You ask "Does the existence of a technology automatically entitle you to it?"

Well I ask you, do another person's moral beliefs allow you to be denied technology that exists?

Suppose I were to find blood transfusions foma black person to a white person morrally reprehensible? Does that mean I can summarilly dismiss any black people bleeding to death if the only blood in storage came from white donors?

That acctually used to happen.

You also say that people automatically assume that those needing EC are shit heads who dont know how to use regular contreception.

18 months ago there was a news story here in AZ, a young girl was raped - the hosptail refused to give her EC, the local pharmacies refused to fill her pescription as well - on moral grounds.

But this isnt limited just to EC there are reports of dotors and pharmicists refusing to dispense birth control pills. 2 months ago I ran across a story where a pharmicist refused to fill a perscription for pre natal VITAMINS!!!!! because the perscription was from a planned parenthood clinic.

Incedentally improper use of a medicaion is not grounds for a lawsuit. However proper use resulting in complications or death because the manufacturer rushed thru testing and did notfull dclose all possible side effects is.

Posted by: lujlp at September 24, 2006 10:58 PM

Just so I know.

Is it illegal to claim you were raped for the purpose of getting the drug if you do not file a police report?

Posted by: lujlp at September 24, 2006 11:00 PM

I'm sorry, lujlp, but you haven't dismissed the issue I raised at all, though you might have delusions that you have.

The question arrived with transplant technology, and it continues today, whatever your opinion may be. Your post is a collection of irrelevancies to my question.

And obviously, you have no idea of the legal shenanigans faced by American companies on a regular basis. Such claims cannot be dismissed en banc as you imply. Also, filing a false police report is indeed illegal.

I can't believe anyone could be in the dark about the status of American consumer law, because it's been in the news for at least 30 years; yes, the consumer must be protected from him- or- her-self because people are idiots. Aircraft crashes because of pilot error are the company's fault for not building a crash-proof airplane; ask Piper and Cessna if they were allowed to excuse themselves from court when the plane worked as advertised (No). Ask Colt if they were allowed to step out of court when thugs used their guns to kill people (No). Ask Honda and Kawasaki why they don't make 3-wheel All Terrain Vehicles any more: people put their helmetless kids on them with no training, and little Johnny's limbs don't work any more because the savage beast with cute, fluffy tires intentionally pitched him on the ground.

Claiming consumer protection doesn't cover usage is just ridiculous. All you have to do is look at the warning label on airline peanuts to realize how bizarre that assertion is. (Caution: Contains peanuts!)

Posted by: Radwaste at September 25, 2006 2:10 AM

Well if anyone else had doubts to your stupidity they dont anymore, I asked if it was illegal to tell the hospital you were raped and NOT file a police report.

Second, in answer to your question, just becuse a technology exist does not entile anyone to it, but it does allow you to purchse it if you have the money and the owner of the technolgy is selling it.

Now please answer my question.

What gives a third party the right to refuse medical treatment based on a selective sampaling and loose interperitaion of biblical edicts?

Posted by: lujlp at September 25, 2006 10:01 AM

Federal and state governments give a third party the right to refuse medical treatment based on a "loose interpretation of biblical edicts," or whatever else on which your personal religious beliefs are founded. Details are available for free online through a federal government/ Library of Congress agency called Congressional Research Service (CRS). They published a report on this subject in October 2005.

If you don't like what you read, please be sure to tell your federal and state representatives, your friends, family members and anyone else you can get to write, call and vote.

Posted by: Michelle at September 25, 2006 2:50 PM

Well, I guess you have your answer, lujlp. And I'll connect the dots for you: the ER or hospital staff is not permitted to conceal crime. Claim what you want: if it's a crime, here come the cops.

And so I'll answer my own rhetorical question: no, you are not entitled to anything from Lilly, Merck et al, no matter how well-off, destitute or incidentally hostile you might be.

This is another awesome example of the two-faced nature of the public: clamoring for government to back off, while clamoring for government to force third parties to give you what you want. Ahem... you are a "third party" in the eyes of such law. Be ready to give something up if it's important or valuable to a big enough chunk of society to get government to take it from you.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 25, 2006 4:53 PM

lujlp, Radwaste's being a condescending tool, but he is correct in that the legality of this particular drug is up to us, the voting public. If a majority of us declare it, through our representatives, to be illegal, then it's illegal. The answer THEN is to exercise civil disobedience by obtaining it by extralegal means (at your own risk), as is occurring around the country as mothers buy it for daughters, friends for other friends, and strangers for people around the country.
Radwaste, it has not been the 'third party' drug company (Barr) who doesn't want to sell the drug, it's the government (because of pressure from conservative groups) telling them that they can't, or rather, taking 3 years to legalize something that's been used successfully in Europe for years, Barr wants to sell it, allright.
Your comment on anyone actually needing this pill already being guilty of bad judgement...priceless. Besides rape, ever heard of broken condoms? And using this pill shows very good judgement, from a woman who knows she can't raise a child or bring one to term. Use of this pill could virtually eliminate abortions, a goal groups opposing this pill's legality have sought for years. That's responsible.

Posted by: Cat brother at September 25, 2006 7:15 PM

Of course, their real goal (I believe) is to oppose secularism into oblivion, and to foist their values on us.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 25, 2006 7:26 PM

"Your comment on anyone actually needing this pill already being guilty of bad judgement...priceless."

You're just eager to dismiss the role of the individual in responsible sexual activity.

There is no 100% contraceptive measure, even for the careful woman who charts ovulation as well as employing other (multiple) methods. Anyone listening to a person explain how a -one- contraceptive failed will immediately consider ineptitude; being careful is not what sex is about. "Reckless" does occur in degrees, but pregnancy does not. Good grief! An unintended pregnancy is automatic, immediate indication that whatever measure was used was inadequate.

Feel free to assert that good judgment produces a bad result. That's what some are saying here, and it's just wrong.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 26, 2006 5:34 PM

I think it ironic that the same people who claim their moral superiority entitles them to claim protection for that which has the potential of becoming a human being ( in certain conditions ), don't have any qualms about sending the young off to foreign lands to practice indescriminate killing.
Right on this column is the best argument against resticting birth control : either it's done right, legally, or it's illegal and a frequently a botched job.

Posted by: opit at September 26, 2006 10:09 PM

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