EC: The Back-Up I Needed

Jessica Perl

Over-the-counter access to emergency contraception enabled me to access the drug when I most needed it.

I am a 23-year-old female and have used emergency contraception twice in my life. The first
time was when I was a freshman in college – I had stupidly slept with a guy
without a condom, and while he had pulled out, I was still nervous that I could
get pregnant. At that time EC wasn’t available over the counter, so I knew I
had to go to Planned Parenthood. I deliberated back and forth, knowing that I
should go, but not wanting to because of the time it would take to get there,
the time I would have to wait, the money I would have to spend, etc.
Ultimately, I decided the risks of not going outweighed the inconvenience of
rearranging my schedule a bit. I went by myself and was definitely nervous,
even a little ashamed, at going inside the Planned Parenthood. But the
experience I had there was excellent. There were a number of other girls there
for the same reason I was, and we were taken in as a group (those that didn’t
mind doing it all together – we were given the option to meet with the nurse privately). She talked a bit about safe sex and prevention methods, but not in a
patronizing or lecturing manner. I felt that she was easy to relate to and
passed no judgment. After she spoke for a bit, she handed out prescriptions for
EC to all of us, and we were on our way.

The second time was a little less than a year ago on Memorial Day. I
had had sex the night before, and when I went to take my birth control that
morning, I saw that I had actually missed two pills in a row, instead of the
one I knew I had forgotten to take. After mentally kicking myself really hard,
I started to freak out: "It’s a holiday; is Planned Parenthood even going to be
open?" Then, I vaguely remembered reading that EC was now available over the
counter (I still am not sure where I had heard this). I called CVS, and it was
confirmed – EC was available over the counter! I immediately went to retrieve
it. Again, I had a good experience. The pharmacist, incidentally, a man, was
totally cool and gave me no problems (though I do think I was asked for my
ID).  Money again was a concern of mine, but I decided it would be better to be
safe than sorry (thankfully, I had the funds to allow me to purchase it).

I actually can’t remember where I first learned about EC. A health
class, perhaps? Commercials? It was common knowledge that it existed among me
and my friends at the time. When I first used it, though, I’m pretty sure I
thought I only had 72 hours to take it. Between that time and the second time I
used EC, I learned that there was the bigger window of 5 days in which you had
the opportunity to take it.

What was not and is not publicized enough is that EC is available over
the counter. Since I had gotten it over the counter myself, I have informed a
number of people who had no clue of it’s much easier accessibility (most
recently including my 20 year old cousin, who was in absolute distress over a
broken condom and who didn’t want to pay a visit to the doctor. She was
relieved, to say the least, to learn a simple trip to the pharmacy would solve
her problems.)

Appreciate our work?

Rewire is a non-profit independent media publication. Your tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.


Load More

Enjoy reading Rewire? Sign up for our email list to receive exclusive news and reporting.

Thank you for reading Rewire!