In politicized fights over reproductive health care services, the voices of women who need the care — be it birth control, abortion, the HPV vaccine, or emergency contraception — often get lost. For this year’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day, we bring you Jessica Perl’s story, as well as the stories of the two women who wished to remain anonymous that follow:
Suzanne from Brooklyn, NY, writes:
I’m single, 34. A few years ago I was dating someone new when the condom slipped.
I knew I had a short window to use EC so I made an appointment at Planned
Parenthood of NYC within two days. I went there because it was the least
expensive option. They were very kind there and provided me with all of the
information I needed and EC to take home with me. I was nervous about taking it
since I knew the possible side effects. I was surprised when I experienced no
side effects whatsoever. The next few days came and went, and I felt fine. I
didn’t become pregnant, and had the peace of mind during that stressful period
to know I’d done what I could by taking EC. Accidents with condoms happen and
EC gives me and countless other women a sense of relief to know we can do
something about it.
A woman from Washington state writes:
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In February of
2008, my husband and I had a contraceptive failure. I was anxious not to
become pregnant again, because at the time our son (our first baby) was
only 8 months old. My pregnancy with our son was very difficult, and
I had spent many weeks on bed rest. While my husband and I wanted more
children, we had planned to wait for at least two years to have another child. For this reason, I tried to purchase Plan
B. I knew that it was available over the counter, so I went without a
prescription to two different pharmacies near where I live in Washington State.
I went to two different pharmacies, where I was told that the stores were
"out" of Plan B. The pharmacists treated me respectfully but
neither offered to order it for me or gave me any explanation as to why they
did not have it. I had my 8-month old son with me and he was getting
upset and restless and I needed to get him home. So, I gave up and went home and hoped that I
would not become pregnant. But I did become pregnant. As before, I
had a difficult pregnancy. I had to spend more than two months on bed
rest until my due date. This was especially hard because my first child
was still a baby and needed all of my care and attention. Of course, we
love and adore our second child. But I was very disturbed that it was so
hard to get a medication that I needed immediately, and that these two
pharmacies did nothing to help me get it.