>Today is emergency contraceptive (EC) awareness day. Some quick facts about EC:
- Most teenagers in the U.S. don’t have access to EC over-the-counter (but they do in areas of Alaska, California, Vermont, Hawaii, Washington, Maine, New Hampshire and New Mexico)
- Despite the over-the-counter status, low-income and immigrant women still have issues of access to emergency contraception
- More than 60% of voters say they do not know about EC or any product that has been proven effective in preventing pregnancy when used within days after unprotected sex
Actually, forget emergency contraceptives not being available to low-income and immigrant women – often it’s nearly damn impossible for them to get contraceptives in the first place. Last summer, the Big O told me that The Washington Post did a study on DC-metro area pharmacies and found that nearly all of the ones in low-income communities kept condoms locked behind the pharmacy counter. So even if you were not embarrassed to ask for it in the first place (which people shouldn’t be, but generally are) but went to a CVS or other store after pharmacy hours, you were shit out of luck. The pharmacies defended the practice by noting that condoms were the most frequently shoplifted items. Yes, there is a policy statement to be made about the government distributing condoms if it really wants to prevent unplanned pregnancies, but so it goes.
We also have the little problem of pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control pills because it is against the pharmacist’s religion. Huh. Well, it is against my religion to not smack judgmental assholes who insist on imposing their religious views upon me, but I seem to be able to restrain myself pretty well. Those people clearly cannot do their jobs and should be fired immediately. Instead, pharmacies in chains like Target are protecting them. Thanks for your concern about your patrons’ freedom of religion. I will take my business elsewhere. (Damn you, Target!)
Anyway, we all know that this country is fucked up when it comes to fucking. When I was a senior in high school, I took the AP exam for American History. One of the essay questions was to describe the lasting impact of the Puritans on American culture. Of course, I wrote all about the work ethic and all that shit, but I also decided to take a risk and blame today’s sad state of affairs when it comes to teen pregnancy and STD transmission on their views about sex. Fortunately, I had an exam reviewer who agreed that it is puritanical attitudes about sex that keep people in this country from safely enjoying sexual freedom, and I got a top score. If only law makers and voters would have the same understanding.