Back Up Your Birth Control!

Happy “Back Up Your Birth Control” National Day of Action, Persephoneers!

Today is dedicated to the wonder and glory that is Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception (EC). The “Back Up Your Birth Control” website lists several ways to get involved, including signing the petition calling on the FDA to end restrictions on EC, signing the petition to say that contraception is prevention (so it should not be subject to co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs), and joining their social media campaign.

One of the best ways to be prepared for pregnancy prevention is to have a dose of Plan B in your medicine cabinet or stashed in the back of a drawer somewhere. If you’re 17 or older, you can get it over the counter without a prescription. Plan B’s website has an easy pharmacy locator where you just plug in your zip code. Bonus: there’s also a printable $10-off coupon!

If you’re under 17, you need a prescription for EC. But if you can’t afford a doctor’s visit, you can either get it from Planned Parenthood or call your OB/GYN or regular doctor and ask them to phone in a prescription to the pharmacy.

Since I know calling the doctor and asking for something like this can be difficult and¬†embarrassing, here’s a little script for you:

“Hi, my name is _____, and I’d like to request a prescription for Plan B. I don’t need it right now, but I’d like to have a backup dose on hand in case of an emergency. Could you call a prescription for Plan B One-Step to _____ pharmacy? Their number is ________. Thank you!”

If you’re over 17 but squeamish about asking the pharmacist for it, Plan B’s website has this helpful card that you can print out and hand in. I’ve seen pre-printed cards like this on the counter at my local pharmacy, which I think is fantastic. Yay for removing barriers to access!

Another great thing you can do today is share your story about emergency contraception. Here’s mine: when I was 19, I met Adam through a friend. Adam was super cute and staying in a hotel near my dorm for the weekend. We ended up spending the weekend having sex in said hotel room. On Sunday afternoon, we got into a bitter argument about nothing in particular. When I got home, I realized I’d only started using hormonal BC again the week before. I got suuuuuuper paranoid and realized I could theoretically get pregnant. This was back before Plan B was available over the counter. I went to Plan B’s website, and they listed numbers you could call to get an emergency prescription. I called it and had a friend drive me to the nearest pharmacy that was open late on a Sunday night. I took the two pills (now it’s only one), didn’t have any side effects, AND didn’t get pregnant!

But I was lucky. I was lucky I could afford it (I think it was around $20), lucky I had Internet access, lucky there was a pharmacy in my town that offered it, and lucky that a friend had a car and could drive me. That’s why you should always have a dose of Plan B available.¬†If you go to Planned Parenthood for birth control, you can ask for a backup dose of Plan B. They are more than happy to give them out. Remember: it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

By STFUConservatives

Jess, the mastermind behind STFU Conservatives, is a bike-riding hippie liberal who lives in West Hollywood. Her favorite political issues are abortion, marijuana, health care, and class issues. Her favorite apolitical topics of conversation include small dogs, Diet Coke, and extensive TV viewing.

4 replies on “Back Up Your Birth Control!”

I’ve never had to use EC myself, but I did have to buy it for a friend once, and I’m so grateful to the sweet lady pharmacist behind the counter. 17-year-old Mayyria was afraid for my friend, and I don’t know what would have happened if I’d encountered any kind of judgement or hostility. I’m lucky that EC is easily accesible where I live; two years prior to this incident I gave EC to another friend. I got it from a young woman working for a pro-choice organization (maybe PP? Memories fade…) who was literally going door-to-door distributing Plan B to young girls.

Even though having several options of birth control that are available to women is a GOOD thing, I think the best part of the EC is that it is non-prescription, easy to access, you don’t have to be covered by health insurance, need parental permission (if you are over 17), and doesn’t have a laundry list of side effects like IUD’s. IUD’s also require a special, but somewhat simple, procedure that needs to take place by your gynecologist. Not everyone has access to health care, let alone a gynecologist. Planned Parenthood may be able to assist, but I really don’t know. I claim complete ignorance when it comes to the services planned parenthood has to offer.

(NOTE: I live in an area where Planned Parenthood is so secretive and hidden due to security necessity. Living in a staunchly conservative section of the United States, people don’t talk about Planned Parenthood, abortions or sex before marriage. And if you do get pregnant, well, you are having the baby regardless. Not because there are not options, but because moral and peer pressure states that having the baby is the “right” thing to do.)

Again, IUD’s and any types of birth control or Emergency Contraception are a requirement for the sexually active, and hopefully fulfilled, woman.

Personally, I stand behind all of the types of birth control and Emergency Contraception (EP). Thankfully and luckily, I don’t have to utilize them anymore. After giving birth my best option was to have my tubes lasered/seared/and forever detached. Hormones/BC does not like my body and an IUD was not even considered. I know I don’t want anymore kids. Our first child was completely unplanned. My child is the light of most of my days, but this was after I met the little monkey.

I’m lucky, I have health insurance and able to afford to take off work and pay for this procedure. It has saved my sex life and made me realize my one little dependent monkey (not giving away too much information about me and my family), are very happy. My family is happy with the one monkey, one dog and a life of devoting our time to each other. (Look at me, I went all sappy and shit.)

Use BC and carry EC. Make it the responsibility of your partner too. As women we take responsibility for our sexual health and BC options, but delegating these responsibilities is very helpful and could possibly provide an emergency back-up plan when you forget everything.

Also, don’t forget – now there are two (2!) different forms of EC available in the US – the Plan B we are familiar with, and Ella (ulliprisal acetate) which was just FDA approved a few months ago. The excitement about Ella is that it has a different mechanism and is effective for a full 5 days after the unprotected act with no decrease in effectiveness. Plan B can be used that far out, but has decrease in effectiveness the further out you are. Ella is still prescription only.

And another, “also, don’t forget” – the actual most effective method of EC is placement of a copper (Paraguard) iud – up to 5 days after intercourse, so if you are interested in an IUD anyway and you have a good gyn, you should talk to your doc/np/midwife about that if you find yourself in that situation. Mirena iud would probably work, but has not been tested.

If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to write a manifesto for you all about the different forms of EC, how they work, and how they are not, not, NOT a form of abortion.

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