Monday, October 09, 2006

Emergency Contraception

About a month ago, in discussing current political issues with a close friend who is fiscally conservative but pragmatic in his morals, we got into an argument about emergency contraception and the news that it would finally be availble over-the-counter (though only to people 18 and over). Since this incident, I have decided that he was "in a mood" and that he might not say the same flippant things he said that night, but that night he towed at least part of the Christian conservative Republican line, saying that easily available OTC EC would only lead to more and more people having unprotected sex, knowing that they can just get EC the day after at their local Walgreens and not have to deal with getting pregnant, that it would lead to more people making bad decisions and then covering it up afterwards. There are several very logical and reasonable counterpoints to this, which I gave him, to no avail that night. Tonight I am reminded about why EC over-the-counter, to all ages, without pharmacists being given permission to deny people OTC EC for "religious reasons". About a month ago, a popular feminist blogger told her story about being denied EC. She has been with her "boyfriend" (I'd prefer to say partner) monogamously for several years. She has three children already that she takes care of. She cannot take birth control pills and her and her partner have been relying on condoms for quite some time. The condom slipped off. When she went to the pharmacy to buy EC, she was informed that it would not be available until after the New Year. She called her regular physician, but, as it was over the weekend, she only got a call back, saying that she should go to the emergency room to get it. She did. The nurse told her that there was only one doctor of the three on duty who would even consider prescribing EC, but only if she was raped. When she continued to push, the nurse said the doc might prescibe it if she was married. She was neither. She was denied EC during the period when it would be effective. Upon her posting of this story which most liberal bloggers found absolutely horrible, she recieved hate-mail/comments and e-mails masquerading as helpful herbal remedies that could help her induce a miscarriage but would probably kill her if she took them. One particularly aweful person said that if they ever met her they would savagely rape her several times before killing her. Now she is pregnant. (From her current post and some of the blog comments, it seems she was prescribed EC later, but after it would have been effective so, surprise! it didn't work.) So, in addition to being shocked and appalled about how hard it is for many people (normal, responsible, middle-class, insured, unafraid adults) to get EC, I am also despondent over these comments. I recognize that there are people on the internet who are just crazies, but most plain crazies are more interested in conspiracy theoried than death threats to liberal feminist bloggers. These people making these comments are "pro-life". I have to say that I've never heard any of this level of vitreol from pro-choice advocates. I'm just so sad over all of this. And I'm just as sad thinking that I might have been wrong. That in the clear light of day, my friend might side with these crazies, instead of looking at all the reasons couples and women should have as many options as are safe and viable. Fuck.

Here's the most recent post from that blogger, who I am keeping in my thoughts. Take care all.

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