Sunday, October 08, 2006

Plan B and the 49th Parallel

A while ago, the story of what happened to radical feminist blogger BitingBeaver, was going around the blogosphere, particularly the feminist blogosphere. BB and her long-term monogamous-relationship boyfriend had a condom break, and BB related a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking tale of trying to obtain emergency contraception (Plan B) in rural Ohio. She was stonewalled, slut-shamed, asked probing personal questions about her sexual history, and, in one case, refused Plan B outright because she was neither married nor raped.

Amanda at Pandagon provides a detailed update with commentary, plus links to the original post. BB got her emergency contraception, but too late for it to be effective, and has since learned that she is, in fact, pregnant. She already has three children and doesn't want any more, and has been enduring abuse and death threats because she even took emergency contraception in the first place. (Apparently those people really don't understand how it works, so I've helpfully provided a link above to PZ Myers at Pharyngula giving the biologist's eye view.) Someone even sent her a missive with a list of purportedly "helpful herbs," all of which are toxic to lethal. ("Pro-life" my rosy pink behind!)

Needless to say, she's a bit ticked off.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Emergency contraception is available without a prescription for the asking at most Canadian pharmacies. It costs $40CDN, and most pharmacists are very willing to dispense it. I live in SW Ontario, which means I'm in the part of Canada closest to where BB lives. My suggestion is, if you live in the US and you are close enough to the Canadian border, particularly to Ontario and BC (where I happen to know pharmacists are unlikely to claim "moral objections" and where pharmacies commonly stock Plan B), and you need emergency contraception, think about coming here. Think about buying some to take home if you're here visiting, playing the casinos in Windsor, visiting Niagara Falls or Stanley Park, or skiing in the Rockies or Collingwood. Even if you wind up not needing it, you probably know someone who will, and better safe than sorry. It may be the best $40 you ever spend.

My Emergency Contraception Story: Some months ago, I discovered that one drug I was on was interfering with my hormonal birth control (I'm still kind of mad that I discovered it while researching on the internet, since I figure the doctor and/or pharmacist should have known -- they actually had to call the manufacturer of the birth control in question). I had had some sexual contact where the possibility existed that I might become pregnant. When I called my pharmacist at my usual drugstore to discuss the possibility with her, she called the manufacturer of the birth control to find out, and then offered me EC over the phone. She said if I wanted to take it, I should just tell her and she'd make up the package right there so I could come and pick it up right away.

As it was, I declined for various reasons, including timing, the fact that the drug interaction had basically been making me have a continuous menstrual period for a couple months at that point, and various other factors I'd rather not talk about.

In any case, the upshot is, I, as someone in Canada, was able to access Plan B with a phone call and (what is to me) a week's grocery money. Nobody harassed me, nobody stonewalled me, and nobody really even wanted to talk about my sex life.

The difference is striking, and something to think about.


Blogger Affixed to a Bird said...

Get online or call me, it is important; I need your expertise. May be indulging in my favorite online hobby again, like 3 yrs ago. I'll tell you more in chat/on phone.

L'Shana tova!

1:05 AM  
Blogger spocko said...

Nice post. Yet another reason to love Canada.

Sorry to hear about your messed up drug interactions. I found out that one drug had a POSITIVE interaction with another drug I was taking for nail fungus. I liked it so much I asked the doctor if I could keep taking it since my fungus wasn't cleared up. He said no. I found out later that several doctors at Kaiser don't want to prescribe it because they think it is too dangerous. This one doctor said, "I'd never prescribe Lamisil, it'll kill ya."

Be well my brilliant Canadian friend!

1:08 AM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

Wow, Lamisil was the drug I had the interaction with, and it was interacting with Ortho Evra, the contraceptive patch. I spotted continuously for about four months. I had wondered about antibiotics, but hepatic metabolism is not the same as gut metabolism, so I was ok with taking the antibiotics with both the Lamisil and the Evra, just not ok with the Lamisil interacting with the Evra. *sigh*

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF is wrong with us here in the US? Loved your post and you folks are so much more saner than some of our nutjobs here. The thing is the nutjobs are now mainstreamed which is really scary.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Tlachtga said...

Planned Parenthood gave it to me after a short medical consultation--just wanted to make sure I knew how to take it and what medicine I might be on that could complicate it. I guess I'm lucky--there are several PPs in the Philadelphia area.

If PP can dispense it, I don't understand why it can't be OTC. I mean, yes, I know the political reasons, but I don't understand what legal loophole PP has that they can dispense it, but I can't just buy it.

But, this was the fall of '02--maybe things have changed, and they've made it harder, I don't know.

Damn it--if only there were more Planned Parenthoods around. They basically saved my life.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now available in CA without a script!

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:25 PM  

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