Look Alive, The Anti-Contraceptionists Are Coming!
September 21, 2006 - 2:37pm ET
Popular This Week
Also Worth Reading
With all the battles over abortion and Plan B, sometimes we forget that religious conservatives aren’t focused only on making sure that every joining of sperm and ovum are held sacred, they are also waging war against the medication women use to prevent the joining of the sperm and the ovum in the first place. Starting tomorrow there’s a two-day conference happening in Rosemont, IL, called "Contraception Is Not the Answer." While I want to ridicule their logic and throw tomatoes at the group—and their creepy videos—the reality is, they’re here, they’re empowered and they’re organized. And all of this is a little scarier than it might seem at first glance.
It can be easy to dismiss such articles as “The War On Contraception” because of their hyperbolic titles. The Pill has been around since 1960 and without picturing some futuristic dystopia it can be hard to actually imagine that hormonal contraception will be illegal again. But in some ways, groups like The Pro-Life Action League operate similarly to Osama bin Laden. While bin Laden might dream of returning to a unified Islamic “caliphate” stretching across the Middle East—a grand unachievable goal—that doesn’t stop him from making do with what is possible to achieve. Same with the Pro-Life Action League and their ilk. While they may strive for the ultimate—if hard to imagine—goal of eliminating contraception, in the meantime they can settle on taking it away from as many women as possible. By convincing pharmacists and doctors not to dispense birth control or convincing school boards and legislators not to offer sex education classes grounded in science they win in small steps. The religious groups know they don’t have to win the battle over contraception all at once. They can “succeed” bit by bit. Of course, what’s scary is that the ultimate goal of groups like the Pro-Life Action League seem a lot more possible than bin Laden’s revival of the caliphate.
Lest you think that just because we’ve “won” on Plan B that means the battle’s over, one woman’s blog at Biting Beaver (hat tip to Ann at Feministing) details her struggle just with Emergency Room doctors in rural Ohio to get some frickin’ emergency contraception. Once I wrote a blog titled “No Plan B For You, Hussy” but didn’t realize that “Are you a hussy” is in fact a screening question for some doctors before dispensing with the EC.
Biting Beaver writes that after a condom breaks she’s first thinks “well at least there’s emergency contraception.” She calls the pharmacies but they aren’t stocking over-the-counter Plan B until Jan. 1. She calls her regular doctor but he won’t prescribe it and his office says she has to go to an ER to get it prescribed. Except even that isn’t working for her. Read her whole story and tell me that this isn’t what the Pro-Life Action Group envision as a “success story.”
"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.
Help us spread the word about these important stories...
Email to a friend
Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future