PLAN B….The Biting Beaver tells a harrowing story of trying to obtain emergency contraception in rural Ohio. First her doctor told her to call the ER, then a parade of nurses hemmed and hawed over the phone, until finally a fourth nurse told her what was going on:
“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.
….I was told by every urgent care I called and every emergency room that I was shit out of luck. I was asked my age. My marital status. How many children I had. If I had been raped and when I became uncomfortable with the questions I was told, “Well Ma’am, try to understand that you will be interviewed and the doctor has ‘criteria’ that you need to meet before he will prescribe it for you.”
The good news is that she finally found a clinic an hour away that would prescribe Plan B. The other good news is that Plan B will finally be available without a prescription on January 1st ? after two years of broken promises and political base pandering from the FDA. That’s assuming your local pharmacy carries it, of course.
There is no other good news in this story.