Saturday, March 29, 2008
Emergency Contraception Advice, and a Rant.
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: you need to go get emergency contraception right now. If you're over 18, it's available without a prescription (though you'll need to show ID and get it from the pharmacist--or go to your local Planned Parenthood); since it's over the counter a lot of private insurance plans won't cover it (though in some states Medicaid will). Yes, 50 bucks out of pocket is a lot, but how much is peace of mind worth, really? And if you happen to have birth control pills around that you make your regular 5 or 10 dollar copay on, you can take higher doses of those in a certain way and produce the same effect as taking a dose of Plan B. More on that in a sec.
But as I was saying--now, before the condom breaks; before you or someone you know is sexually assaulted and can only get to a Catholic hospital, after which you're hardly in the mood to hit the pharmacy and stand around between the blood pressure monitor and the Cheetos display; before you google over to webmd and find out that, oh crap, that course of antibiotics you took last week can affect how well your birth control works...you get the picture. Get some now. Have it so that when you, or your girlfriend or daughter or mother or cousin or downstairs neighbor need it, it's there, and no doctor or pharmacist can invoke a 'conscience clause' and weasel out of providing you with the basic health care you need.
If for whatever reason you can't get your hands on Plan B, you can make it into a fun DIY project and cobble together your own version using whatever brand of regular contraceptives you happen to take: here's how to do it. Some caveats: stuff might make you kinda queasy. About 20% of women who take it end up...how to say this delicately? Tossing cookies, blowing chunks, riding the porcelain train to Yaksville. I was one of these lucky ones...when I took EC after I was raped, I spent the first day ralphing like it was my freaking job. Luckily the nice folks at the campus health center (hi Barb! Hi Julia and Nina and Randy! Oh, like they're reading...anyway...) gave me not only a repeat dose of those happenin' hormones, but also some anti-nausea meds. Thank God I went to school in Ithaca, New York, one of the hippie-liberalest towns in blue-statedom, where the ER protocol automatically includes not only calling a specially-trained nurse examiner to collect forensic evidence, but also paging a member of a counseling/advocacy crisis team, arranging government payment through the Victims of Crime Act, and discussing EC and HIV prophylaxis.
But it gets even better! *Dripping with sarcasm like a nose in a Flonase commercial* Target and CVS have adopted corporate policies that allow their pharmacists, without penalty, to not fill birth control prescriptions (including EC). A number of states allow doctors to refuse to write contraceptive scripts even when, all things being equal--ie, we're not talking about a 40 year old smoker who goes on lots of transatlantic flights--that would be a reasonable course of action. You can look your state up here.
Sorry for all the linking; I know I don't always like it when I see posts that are just forests of links, but this is something important to me, and damned if I'm going to copy out the vagaries of Mississippi's crazy-ass conscience clauses when I can just link to it instead (nb: in Mississippi, anyone can refuse to prescribe contraceptives for "religious purposes." I've read about pharmacists and doctors refusing to prescribe/dispense birth control to young women out of concern for 'promoting promiscuity,' which is kind of a nice way to say "let the little sluts suffer"; I wonder how many of these same health professionals would refuse Viagra to an unmarried man on the same grounds..? Oh, wait. *Head slap* He has a penis. Sorry. Forgot).