Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I don’t remember now the events leading up to the need for emergency contraception, though I can guess at the important part. Without health insurance, the question of whether or not to pursue being seen by a doctor and paying for a prescription or just taking the risk that I wouldn’t be pregnant seemed like it needed to be weighed carefully. Looking back from far away, it was pretty much a no brainer. The clock was ticking. 72 hours. Okay, maybe more like 60. I headed to the phone book first, looked under pregnancy or women’s clinic or some other such thing, and called a number that offered free pregnancy tests and counseling. I called and explained my situation, and asked about the morning after pill. The woman on the other end of the phone told me that there was a strong possibility that I could be pregnant and that there were a lot of resources that could help me, and that if I chose to take the morning after pill and I was pregnant, I would in effect be killing my child.

I’ve never been able to effectively articulate the effect that conversation had on me. They’re not called pregnancy scares for nothing, and to add the charge of infanticide from a complete stranger from whom I was seeking professional advice didn’t help the situation any. It was like being kicked in the stomach. It was like she’d reached into my chest and squeezed. Maybe she got satisfaction about the fact that she made me think about it, even for a second. After struggling to find a comeback for a few seconds I hung up the phone without saying anything and promptly burst into tears. Leary of further human interaction, I headed for the internet.

This is what I found out:

1. If you want to get pregnant, your chances are ridiculously slim. You should have sex all the time, pay careful attention to your diet, weight, environment, sexual positions, the presence and viscosity of vaginal discharge, body temperature and the calendar – and be happy, because if you’re sad you won’t get pregnant. Oh. And definitely have simultaneous orgasms because there’s a school of thought that it makes it easier for the sperm to make its way to the fallopian tubes. You basically have the smallest window ever and the older you are, the smaller it gets. No pressure.

2. If you don’t want to get pregnant, you may not look at a member of the opposite sex from less than 3 feet away without risking it.

But hey, it’s not really about women’s health anyway. It’s not about the right to understand your body and what goes on with it. As a matter of fact, it’s probably better if they don’t know. Keep it a mystery and it becomes public forum. Educate them about it and they might actually be able to make decisions on their own.

So I bit the bullet and headed to the doctor. We talked about my menstrual cycle and where it was and whether or not I was at risk, and she admitted she didn’t know either and went to go look it up in a book somewhere while I sat waiting on the exam table. In the end she decided to go ahead and prescribe it just in case, and went on a brief rant about how it should be over the counter so that women wouldn’t have to see a doctor to get it. It appears, however, that there are certain pharmacists who would disagree, or even refuse to provide you with such a thing for “moral” reasons.

Anyone want to volunteer to go condom shopping?

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