Plan C, anyone?

There’s something a trifle askew about this story, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. What do you think?

I live in Oxford, MS, and my girlfriend and I researched the availability of Plan B in this state. We knew there might some puritanical problems with purchasing it here in Mississippi — we have all kinds of arcane alcohol laws and only one abortion clinic in the state, after all — and from what we could tell, a pharmacist can refuse to sell Plan B to a woman on religious/moral grounds. But otherwise pharmacies do carry it, and it should be available to a woman as long as she can prove she is over age 18. As this is a university town and a top-ranked party school, we supposed it wouldn’t be as hard to get Plan B as in other really small, ultra-conservative rural towns. And we also figured that a corporate pharmacy such as Walgreens would be less troublesome to deal with than a mom-and-pop one.

Well, the other day we decided to be extra-safe and to get the Plan B pill from Walgreens here in town. My girlfriend went and requested Plan B, equipped with the knowledge that it’s a non-prescription drug available with ID. She said the pharmacy worker started asking for proof of insurance in order to get the pill. My girlfriend refused and asked to speak to someone in charge. The pharmacist then came, and my girlfriend told him she simply wanted Plan B and that her ID should be good enough. The pharmacist then went about getting the pill, but they also seem to have a policy, a la abortion clinics, of forcing a waiting period of an hour and giving adoption literature to the person requesting the contraceptive. Now, Plan B is just an additional spermicide, not an abortion pill, but that’s another can of worms. In the end, my girlfriend demanded the Plan B immediately, and she got it, but not without a fair amount of interference on Walgreens’ part. They also insisted on writing down her driver’s license number.

I’m wondering how much trouble other people may have had with Walgreens (or any other pharmacy) over acquiring Plan B. There are several other Red States that make allowances for the pharmacists’ “moral concerns” to get in the way of getting Plan B. What are our rights in getting this pill right away? Walgreens’ website didn’t indicate that they could possibly get all high-and-mighty with her when she went to make the purchase. Could they also get uppity when you buy other kinds of contraception?

One thing jumps out at me: Plan B is not actually a spermicide.

Mississippi is, I understand, one of four states which allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense “emergency contraception” of this sort on moral grounds.

On the other hand, several states, including Oklahoma, routinely jerk you around should you wish to purchase stuff that theoretically could be used in a meth lab. (And I have to show my driver’s license to buy Ambien, fercrissake.)

I’m not quite sure what I think about all this just yet, so I’m throwing it out here. I do, however, have an ongoing policy of avoiding Walgreens on general principle.


  1. fillyjonk »

    2 December 2008 · 11:49 am

    I’m a little confused. I thought “Plan B” was what you used when either you KNEW your contraception (and the backup contraception you really SHOULD* be using, if you really really don’t want a baby) has failed, or in cases of things like rape.

    I didn’t think it was a before-the-fact kind of thing, which is what this guy makes it sound like…like they’re planning in advance for their BC to fail?

    There is also, I understand, for women who take the Pill, a way you can make a sort of MacGuyver version of Plan B by taking extra pills in some combination. I don’t know what it is and how you do it, I’ve just heard it rumored such a thing is possible.

    (*And yes, I realize, devout Catholics have issues with these right here)

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: yet another reason why I’m probably glad not to be part of the dating pool right now.

  2. CGHill »

    2 December 2008 · 12:24 pm

    There didn’t seem to be much urgency in the tale, so I’m guessing they’re either (1) stocking up in case of emergency or (2) trying awfully hard to make a fairly-obvious point. Maybe both. Which may or may not explain why something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

  3. Tatyana »

    2 December 2008 · 1:22 pm

    Fillyjonk: agree with your last point. Avoiding the mess is one of my reasons…etc.The only difference, may be, that I had have to deal with this kind of mess more than I’d care to.
    Chaz: 8 pages of passionate comments, that’s what I noticed. It’s like all these people, including the guy whose occupation is a medical ethics teacher, are 14yo teenagers on a debate team.

  4. Dwayne "the canoe guy" »

    2 December 2008 · 2:34 pm

    They should be glad they didn’t try to buy a magic marker at the self-checkout lane.

  5. paulsmos »

    2 December 2008 · 3:53 pm

    Typical secular progressive types on their dreamquest amongst the troglodyte ultraconservative minions….and to their horror this
    “top-ranked party school” would have the audacity, nay, the unmitigated gall to actual be insensitive to their need to debauch. After all who wants that parasitical blob of protoplasm gumming up the works at a later date. The Chosen One will soon convert this rural community into a fornicatorium, pronto.

  6. McGehee »

    2 December 2008 · 4:38 pm

    Uh, what?

  7. paulsmos »

    2 December 2008 · 4:47 pm

    sorry, it should have read… the top-ranked school community.

  8. paulsmos »

    2 December 2008 · 4:48 pm

    I meant the community at large is the culprit, not the school.

  9. CGHill »

    2 December 2008 · 5:42 pm

    What? Sexual activity among college students? Next you’ll tell me that General Motors is losing money.

  10. Tatyana »

    2 December 2008 · 8:23 pm

    This reminded me, on a second thought, of a post I read [someplace else] a few days back – with remarkable uniform agreement in the comment thread. The author said: “one of the benefits of a middle age for a woman is you don’t obsess about lateness of your period anymore. Pregnant? Good. Not pregnant? Good”.

  11. Kay Dennison »

    2 December 2008 · 8:38 pm

    I’m glad I’m an old broad and I’m not concerned with any of that. Celibacy has it’s charms.

RSS feed for comments on this post