I’m stunned. I’m utterly, completely stunned. I’m shaky and anxious and shocked beyond belief. I live in rural Ohio and I have been denied EC.
Two months ago I stopped taking birth control. My body finally decided that it was fed up and the cycle of side-effects began again as they have every time I’ve taken hormonal contraception since I was a teenager. The Depo shot culminated in a trip to the ER due to heavy bleeding and fainting. So my doctor switched me to the yet another low-dose birth control pill which began fucking me up several months ago. So, approximately 2 months ago I stopped taking it.
I am also unable to be fitted for birth control methods that block your cervix seeing as how I have almost no cervix left after my operation last year. So for the last few months I have relied exclusively on condoms.
Friday night the condom broke. But I didn’t panic, I thought to myself, with a huge sigh of relief, “Wow, thank goodness it’s over the counter now!” and I fell asleep (since there are absolutely NO 24 hour pharmacies within 100 miles of me). Saturday morning I awoke and phoned the pharmacy. I asked them about EC and was told that they won’t be stocking it until January 1st, until then it was still by prescription only.
Soooo, I phoned my doctors office which informed me that the office was closed and that I had to call the local hospital and have her paged in order to reach her on the weekend. So I called her and had them page her. A little while later she called back and I answered the phone immediately. She sounded tired and really grumpy; I apologized for having to page her for a thing like this and then asked her if I could get a prescription for EC. She explained that I needed to go to the Emergency Room to get it.
My heart fell, the ER has a 100$ co-pay attached to it. “Well,” I thought to myself, “that’s still better than the price of a kid” so I called the Emergency Room to verify the information and to ask what their procedures were. When I called the hospital they transferred me to the ER. I asked the nurse what the procedure was for EC and what would be the best time to come down there (I didn’t want to wind up behind 3 critical people and end up waiting for 12 hours). The nurse responded in a small, questioning voice, “EC?” and so I explained. “Yes, Emergency Contraception. Plan B. You know, right?”
“Oh” she replies. “Hold on just a sec” and she puts me on hold.
A few moments later another nurse answers the phone. “Can I help you” he says.
“Yes,” I reply “My name is BB and I was told that I need to come here to get a scrip for Plan B.”
“Oh,” he says, “Can you hang on a second?”
“Sure” I reply, becoming decidedly nervous.
He puts me on hold and I sit on the edge of the bed frowning and fiddling with a pen. I wait on hold for 15 minutes before he finally comes back on.
“Have you talked to your doctor?” he asks.
“Yes, I talked to her this morning and she told me to go to the ER” I reply.
“Oh, so she won’t prescribe it for you?” he asks.
This possibility hadn’t occurred to me. I just assumed that the ER was standard procedure, “Hmmm” I say, “Well, I guess not. It’s not just standard procedure to go to the ER?”
“No, not really. We don’t really have this happen much.” He replies and then he says, “Well I called the pharmacy to ask them because I had heard that it was going over the counter. They told me that they won’t sell it til the first of the year” I finished the sentence with him and explained that I had called the pharmacy first thing this morning and was told the very same thing.
“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.
He continues, almost over eager at this point to distance himself from the hospital, “See, I understand what you’re saying and all. I think it’s a good thing that it’s going over the counter. I just thought I should tell you what he told me. You know, you’ll just have to have an interview with him and he’ll see if you meet his criteria. He’ll only be on duty until 2pm today though and you should ask for him if you decide to come down because he’s really your only chance.
I sigh and thank him before hanging up. I know exactly what he was telling me. If I wasn’t raped and wasn’t married then too damn bad for me.
I opened the phone book again and called the Urgent Care in my county. Who knows, maybe they’ll do it for me. “No,” the nurse said, “We don’t prescribe the abortion pill here”.
“No, wait I’m not asking for the abortion pill. I’m asking for EC!” I say, “It’s not the same thing.”
“Well, we use the words interchangeably here. Sorry, we don’t prescribe it”. She all but races to get off the phone with me.
I start looking through the telephone book, dialing hospitals from counties all around me. It seems that nobody will prescribe it to me. None of the hospitals are willing to touch me, of the ones that will prescribe it I am asked a series of questions to ‘screen’ me before I come to the hospital. The results aren’t good. I’m not married and wasn’t raped, so there’s very little they can do for me. But I can try the nurses tell me uncomfortably.
“But if I go through all this and I can’t get it will I still be charged the co-pay?”
“Well….ummmm…yeah. I’m afraid so Ma’am.” comes the reply.
I called every hospital in every surrounding county and none of them would prescribe me EC. Not even ONE. Of the 2 that said that they sometimes will their ‘criteria’ was clearly not my situation.
Next I tried Planned Parenthood. None of them were open. Not one. Every Planned Parenthood in Ohio was either closed on Saturday or would be closed before I could drive the 100 miles to them.
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.”
When I asked about what ‘criteria’ there was that I had to meet, the reply was, “Well, he’s kind of old fashioned”. I was told that I might be able to ‘talk him into it’ anyway and that it can’t hurt to try (except for the fact that each and every time I try it I’ll have to pay $100 co-pay).
I found that the more hospitals and clinics and doctors I called the more ashamed I became. Yep, you heard right. I was feeling ashamed at being such an unworthy dirty whore. Well, at least in the eyes of all these hospitals and doctors and clinics. I cried, then I sweated, then I cried some more, then I called some more.
Folks, the condom broke Friday night and I searched all weekend for someone who could prescribe me EC. It is now Monday and I have to report that I have been unable to find anyone who will write me a fucking prescription for EC. None of the hospitals in the surrounding counties would write it for me. I stopped my search at about 100 miles from my home because my telephone book wouldn’t take me out any further than that.
I have been asked about my sexual practices. Whether I’m ‘monogamous’ or ‘in a relationship’ if I’m married, if I have kids, how many kids I have, if I was raped or ‘traumatized’ but there wasn’t’ ONE question about my health. Not one. The few places that said that they had a doctor who would occasionally write prescriptions for EC told me that I had to ask for that doctor specifically and then they proceeded to tell me that I would be ‘interviewed’ to see if I meet that doctors ‘criteria’ and then they proceeded to ask me all the above questions before telling me that I should ‘try anyway’ and I ‘might be able to talk him into it’.
Unwilling to go to the ER and be shamed and ‘interviewed’ for my ‘criteria’ before being told that I’m too slutty or too something or other I broke into a sobbing heap of anger and fear and I did the only thing I could think of doing. Dubhe and I went out to the local pet shop and played with the puppies for awhile before getting a bite to eat. Then I came home and drank a bottle of wine, smoked like a fiend and downed butter rum shots until I fell asleep.
Moral of the story?……
Well, quite frankly I don’t know, it seems that there is no moral to the story other than morality clauses fucking suck. I’m off to smoke a carton of cigarettes and suck down more butter rum so stick that in your morality pipe and smoke it you dirty bastards. Oh and if I end up having to get an abortion I’ll ask if I can keep the little parasite and I’ll be sending it to each of you who denied me EC.
Ok, I’m also editing this post now because I wanted to ask. Does anyone know if Nortrel 7/7/7 can be used as EC? I thought about getting the last refill I have on the old prescription and taking them all over a 2 day period. Of course, I don’t want to die either *sigh* and I’m afraid that it will fuck me up to take all the pills in a few days.
I’ve been unable to find the information on my brand of pill. The packet I have is actually Nortrel 7/7/7 but it was sustituted for Ortho Novum 7/7/7 (I assume that the Nortrel is the generic form of Ortho Novum) Anyway if anyone out there has used my brand as EC please, please, please let me know!!
Thanks a million guys.