News Contraception

No ID, No Plan B — Regardless of Your Age

Robin Marty

In practice, pharmacists are enforcing de facto age restrictions on access to emergency contraception even for women well over the age of 17.

When the Obama administration decided to overrule the FDA’s decision to allow access to emergency contraception over the counter without age restrictions, that meant access to Plan B and other “morning after” pills would continue to be restricted by pharmacists handing out the drug.

The thought was that pharmacists could ensure that no girl 16 or younger could get this contraceptive method without a prescription. Instead, there have been reports of pharmacists denying access to the pill, either citing conscience clauses, refusing to allow men to purchase it, or coming up with other reasons to hold it back.

Now, as Dr. Jen Gunter explains, it can also be used to deny it to a woman who is obviously of age, simply because she doesn’t have an ID proving that fact.

When it was our turn at the pharmacy window we headed up, laden with the goodies, and I asked, “Plan B, the generic please.”

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“I need to see your ID.”

Well, we’d just come form the gym and I wasn’t driving so I had cash and a credit card, but no ID. And while I like to think that I look younger than my stated age, there is no way in hell I look like a 16 year old, you know what I mean?

I made my case. All 45 years.

Didn’t matter, no ID no Plan B.

The lack of an ID isn’t just an issue for those who simply forgot to bring one along. For many women who are poor and don’t own cars, a legal ID card may not be something they have, because of the cost and the lack of necessity.

Just as demanding ID to vote disenfranchises poor and non-white citizens, demanding ID for safe, effective emergency contraception is nothing but a roadblock for denying it to those who need it the most.

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