Feb 16 2007

Wal-Mart: supporting a pharmacist’s right to choose

Yesterday NARAL sent out an action alert. It told the following miserable tale: A woman named Tashina Byrd went to a Springfield, Ohio Wal-Mart to get a dose of Plan B, and was dee-nied. The pharmacist, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, “shook his head and laughed.” NARAL quite reasonably wishes to curb derisive pharmacal (look it up) mirth, and appeals to supporters to help put the kibosh on Wal-Mart’s asinine “conscientious objector” policy. Here is their form letter to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott.*

The Wal-Mart/Plan B story so far:

In March 2006, under pressure from groups who find compulsory pregnancy distasteful — and because they saw the writing on the wall when the Massachusetts pharmacy board forced them to carry it in that state — Wal-Mart finally knuckled under and agreed to stock Plan B in all its stores. But they promised no one that they would actually sell the stuff; apparently Wal-Mart pharmacists must still take a loyalty oath to the Fraternal Godbag Order of Male Uterus Proprietors, and “conscientious objectors” are free to cut loose with the hearty guffaws whenever women wish to purchase this completely legal, FDA-approved, over-the-counter product. The filthy slut should’ve thought about pregnancy before the condom broke or she forgot to take the Pill or she got raped, is pretty much their motto.

For it is a proven pharmacalogical fact that heathen women are both solely responsible for pregnancy yet willfully insensible of its potentiality until the sun shines in their wanton eyes the next morning.

The Wal-Mart pharmacist, an enlightened genius named Brent Beams (who remains at large, roaming the countryside, sniggering at Plan B customers even as he dangles the drug just out of their reach), did not offer the Beacon Journal an explanation for the unconcealed glee with which he refused Byrd’s legal and reasonable request, but he did intone some mystical incantations about “preserving life, and I do not believe in ending life, and life begins at conception.” He knows when “life begins” because mesmerizing leaders of the cult of a dead Jew from the Roman Empire hip-mo-tized his laughing ass.

It seems fantastic, by which I mean unbelievable, that trained pharmacists should (a) be at liberty to inflict their ghost-worshiping fantasies on regular people, and (b) be unaware that Plan B does not “end life” or abort anything, not humans or babies or fetuses or blastodermic vesicles or anything. It is so fantastic that it can’t be true; these are professionals who must know that Plan B merely prevents an ovary from releasing an egg. Plan B may also prevent a fertilized egg — not a human, baby, fetus, or blastodermic vesicle, but a clot of inconsequential cooties** — from infesting the uterine wall in the first place, which is of course an event that spontaneously occurs in millions of uteruses a day whether the megatheocorporatocracy installs godbag pharmacists in their retail churches or not. So the only explanation for Brent Breams’ ghoulish behavior toward Byrd is plain old Christian meanness.

A familiar tale. I swear, I just can’t get over how these egg-worshipin’ Jesusians gotta be so mean.

The current status on Plan B (which, I must reiterate in case anyone is confused, is not RU-486. Plan B prevents pregnancy. RU-486 aborts opportunistic growths.) is this: because the contents of a woman’s personal uterus are not her own business, and because stigmatizing sexually active women is the National Pastime, Plan B is kept behind the counter. As of December 2006 it became available without a prescription to women and men over 18, who must show ID to the pharmacist. Plan B can be wangled by girls 17 and under only with a prescription, because their extra-special uteruses are still wholly owned by the state and regulated by the medical establishment.


Meanwhile, permit me to nitpick about the content (that’s the content, not the intent) of the action alert. Here’s the text of NARAL email:

You won’t believe what happened to me when I went with my boyfriend to Wal-Mart to buy Plan B® – the “morning-after” pill – after our condom broke.

The pharmacist laughed in our faces and told us, “We have it on hand, but there’s no one here who can dispense it.”

My name is Tashina Byrd, and this happened to me at my local Wal-Mart in Springfield, Ohio.

It can be embarrassing to share a private, personal experience like this, but I don’t want other women to be subjected to the humiliation and anger I felt when the pharmacist laughed at me.

That’s why I’m asking for your help today. I recently sent a letter to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., urging him to change company policy to guarantee that pharmacies fill requests for Plan B® without delay, just like they do for any other over-the-counter medicine. Click here to send your letter to Wal-Mart today.

You’ve already proven that together we can make Wal-Mart do what’s right for women. Last year, because of pressure from pro-choice activists like you, Wal-Mart reversed its discriminatory policy against stocking Plan B®. Now, it’s time to ensure that they not only stock it but also sell it without delay or inconvenience.

In the end, I was lucky. I found another pharmacy that stocked Plan B® and was willing to sell it to me. But what would happen to a woman who lives in a rural area – where Wal-Mart is often the only pharmacy – where the nearest drugstore could be 60 miles away or more? What if the second pharmacy refused, too?

Access to emergency contraception shouldn’t require multiple pharmacy visits. To ensure other women don’t have an experience similar to mine, join me in urging Wal-Mart to change its policy today!

Tashina Byrd

Although purportedly Byrd’s own first person plea, the thing was obviously written by a professional NARAL copywriter. It may seem a minor point, but O how I wish they’d just let these women tell it like it is their own selfs. Nobody gives a shit about that slicked-up PR crap. Because what’s all this baloney about Byrd justifying her EC requirements with the broken condom, and then the crap about feeling “embarrassment” at telling the world about this gross injustice? Whoever the real woman may be, this Tashina Byrd character they’ve created is just too palatably respectable, abashed and apologetic.

Yes, yes, I understand why NARAL does it this way, I’m just saying that the method contains concessions to patriarchal control with which I remain uncomfortable. It will be a bright sunshiny day here at the Twisty bungalow when we can get away with “I got drunk and forgot all about birth control and I still want my fucking Plan B, goddammit, and I shouldn’t have to beg some brainwashed nutjob for it. And while you’re at it, how’s about some medical marijuana?”

** My own eggs, incidentally, were recently thrown out with the garbage at a local pathology lab. Astonishingly, egg enthusiast Brent Beams didn’t show up with Jesus and the cops and Governor Rick Perry to protest.


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  1. norbizness

    I thought I’d go ahead and recycle my comment on this, as one person at the previous site thought it funny…

    I’m still waiting for the further adventures of John Doe, Christian Scientist Pharmacist.

    “Yes, I’m here to pick up my…”

    “Sorry. Pray on it. Next!”

  2. yankee,transferred

    The only thing that keeps me from clawing my own eyes out over this and all the other patriarchal bullshit in the world, is that I can count on coming over here to see it addressed intelligently. Thank you.

  3. Valkyrie

    What yt said!

  4. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Pardon my ignorance, but why can’t Plan B be sold over the counter, bypassing the nutjob pharmacists entirely?

  5. norbizness

    Over the counter only means that a prescription is not needed. A pharmacist’s consultation is still required for certain drugs. The FDA approved it for over the counter sale in 2006, now

    “The FDA decision allows over-the-counter sales only at pharmacies and other stores where a licensed pharmacist is on duty. Personal identification showing proof of age will be required. For women 17 years old and younger, a doctor’s prescription will be necessary to purchase the drug.”

  6. legallyblondeez

    Antoinette, Plan B is currently available _over_ the counter but not _in front of_ the counter, where we could actually pick it up without the interference of a store employee. If there were no (mostly godbag) pharmacists supervising the (non)distribution of Plan B, women under the age of 18 could also prevent unwanted parasites/pregnancies.

    As a side note, I am glad the fact that one no longer must endure a lengthy interview with a counselor (including separate terrorizing interrogation of my supportive male companion to make sure he wasn’t abusing me or forcing me to seek Plan B . . . misguided at best since he now fears anything involving my body and doctors and is thus inherently less supportive) and a pregnancy test (can’t risk harm to an already existing parasite) in order to obtain the stuff. I am also glad that (later, but before it was OTC) my awesome RN “women’s health specialist” subverted the states control of uteruses in the greater Bay Area by giving me a prescription with refills and instructing me to share as I felt appropriate.

    Twisty, I’ve always blamed the patriarchy but you’re helping me take it to a new level. Thanks!

  7. stekatz

    Yes, and thanks to all the wonderful meth addicts out there, here in California we can even get OTC decongestant without them writing down your driver’s license number.

    Frankly, Wal-Mart is the last place I’d go for anything, let alone Plan B. It’s like walking into a Taco Bell and actually expecting a decent taco.

    Which sounds like I’m blaming the victim. I swear I’m not. No woman deserves the cold eye of judgement from some godbag. I just generally hate Wal-Mart and avoid them at all costs.

  8. stekatz

    Shoot! I meant *can’t* even get OTC decongestant.

    I need to clean my glasses.

  9. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I think you should be able to get Plan B like aspirin or vitamin C or Midol. This is insanity.

  10. Shira

    My personal favorite is the argument that we cannot sell Plan B OTC because it has ‘side effects’ and women are far too stupid to read a package insert.

    Excellent smack-down as always. You’re probably familiar with these, but I just thought I’d point out two studies that strongly imply that emergency contraception does not interfere with implantation whatsoever:

    Study one: “CONCLUSION: The mode of action of emergency contraception with mifepristone or levonorgestrel is primarily due to inhibition of ovulation rather than inhibition of implantation.”

    Study two:”CONCLUSION: In Cebus monkeys, LNG can inhibit or delay ovulation but, once fertilization has taken place, it cannot prevent the establishment of pregnancy. These findings do not support the hypothesis that emergency contraception with LNG prevents pregnancy by interfering with post-fertilization events.”

    By the way, I broke up with the boyfriend today, for those following that story. Thanks again for the stern talking-to. I needed it (and I blame the patriarchy for that!).

  11. Kim P

    I despise Wal-Mart and this is just the cherry on top.

  12. jenevieve

    Mostly, I am stunned and appalled that the pharmacist didn’t actually know how Plan B works. I figure that if you are going to be that morally constipated over a product, at least make sure you know what it does. I bet he wishes regular birth control was so strictly controlled just so he can determine who is worthy of it. Or maybe he believes that life actually starts at ovulation, but didn’t remember that word.

    In any event, I agree with Yankee.

  13. Frumious B

    Thanks to all the wonderful meth addicts out there, here in California we can’t even get OTC decongestant

    That’s nation wide, and it’s part of the Patriot Act. The FDA website has more info.

  14. Amanda W

    Most of the folks who oppose Plan B–at least those who don’t confuse it with RU-486, anyway–also oppose the Pill. I haven’t seen any actual movement to ban oral contraceptives, but there is significant opposition to it on the religious right. The idea is that the pill might prevent implantation in the uterine wall, but as Twisty pointed out, any number of fertilized ova will fail to implant during a woman’s natural cycle, whereas the Pill(/Plan B) work mainly by preventing ovulation, so there’s hardly a chance for an ovum to even be present, much less get fertilized and then fail to implant.

  15. Clio Bluestocking

    “Mostly, I am stunned and appalled that the pharmacist didn’t actually know how Plan B works. I figure that if you are going to be that morally constipated over a product, at least make sure you know what it does.”

    Being morally constipated seems to preclude well-informed for these sorts, especially when it comes to sex. (There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, but I’m just goint to let it go.)

    I am also stunned and appalled that as a freaking pharmacist he didn’t know how it works. That doesn’t say much for his education or expertise on pharmeceuticals. He should be fired for both violating the law and for incompetence.

  16. Clio Bluestocking

    P.S. By “goint” I meant “going.” My glasses must be messed up, too.

  17. Twisty

    “Mostly, I am stunned and appalled that the pharmacist didn’t actually know how Plan B works”

    My suspicion is that they know full well how it works, but that they elect to be assholes about it anyway because the Jewish ghost tells them to fuck women up whenever possible when it becomes apparent that they have had what is known on the internet as ‘teh sex’.

  18. Jess2

    “Mostly, I am stunned and appalled that the pharmacist didn’t actually know how Plan B works.”

    The godbags don’t give a shit about how it works– I’d almost guarantee you the pharmacist knows the deal perfectly well. The issue is *not* about how it works. The issue is that it’s a tool to give women control over their own uteruses (uterii?) which is not acceptable to the woman-haters. Many of the same people opposed to Plan B are also opposed to birth control period. They believe in three kinds of woman: virgin, whore, and married-breeder. There is no exception, no gray area because there is no concept of personhood behind the archetypes they hold in their minds. To acknowledge and respect the personhood of women would destroy their whole worldview, so they will go to mindbending lengths of cognitive dissonance (like acknowledging and respecting the personhood of fertilized egg, for example) in order to cling to their fucked up beliefs.

    Don’t look for logic in the patriarchy. It’s all about power.

  19. Jess2

    Twisty and Amanda got there first while I was writing my post– I second what they said!

    Clio, how ’bout if I make the dirty joke for you: the moral constipation of men in the extreme godbag right is obviously how they compensate for the lack of buttsex they all secretly crave. You can bet if Ted Haggard were allowed to freely seek the regular colon-drubbing he so clearly desires, he would never have felt the need to pack so much godbaggery up the asses of his followers.

    Sorry y’all, had to let some bad taste fly– my family is coming into town for my baby shower this weekend and I know they certainly won’t appreciate my pottymouthed blaming over scones and onesies.

  20. Petra

    While surely not everything is gold what glitters here in germany, I am very glad that such a thing would not happen here. A pharmacist who refuses to comply to a receipt would be liable to a lot of juristical charges and be sooner out of the job than you can say “thank you”. I am glad that this faith stuff is quite not so here.
    Greetings, Petra

  21. cycles

    I’m awaiting the first reports of a pharmacy hold-up at gunpoint when a woman learns that Plan B is right there behind the counter, but nobody will sell it to her.

    For the sake of propriety, I will say I hope the gaping buckshot wound in the pharmacist’s groin is operable and that he recovers fully.

  22. Twisty

    That’s it. We’re all movin’ in with Petra!

  23. Clio Bluestocking

    Jess2, that was it!

  24. kate

    So, lemme see if I understand this here. Its the law to stock the drug and the has guidelines for the pharmacist to follow in dispensing it upon request and the requester has such also.

    Once those guidelines are followed then the law must be obeyed I’d think, correct? I mean the nicely written letter states:

    “I recently sent a letter to Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., urging him to change company policy to guarantee that pharmacies fill requests for Plan B® without delay, just like they do for any other over-the-counter medicine. Click here to send your letter to Wal-Mart today.”

    So, I still don’t get it. If the law says I have to do something and I laugh in the face of that law, then I am breaking the law, isn’t that correct? I am having trouble here.

    Or is this a voluntary law, like ‘you may elect to …’

    Wait a minute, I can’t think of any laws like that for my business. “You want a roof on that too? Haw! Haw! Ain’t that fine! I think you types’ll do just fine with felt paper.”

    Also I appreciate your point Twisty about the polishy letter. Activists on the left have a bad problem with class issues and until that’s dealt with I think there’s a whole buncha people we aren’t going to reach. But then again, the truth is that if she’s black and/or poor a whole part of this country will automatically not care anyway. I just love that shit, whine about breeders on welfare but make sure they are the absolutely last people on earth to know a damn thing about reproductive rights, educational opportunities or to get outreach.

  25. kate

    Not that I think the welfare rolls are full of ‘breeders’ — as the facts say different.

    As the myth goes women are evil, sex is evil and poverty makes people even more evil, so you can see how po’ women are running around all over town horny for the pregnancy, right? So the poor pharmacist is just doing his good works for society and the lord. I can’t say how I’d like to reward him for his efforts.

  26. Petra

    Twisty sagte: That’s it. We’re all movin’ in with Petra!

    Excuse me if I do not get the right words; I have to use a dictionary and that may be misleading sometimes.

    As said: There also is not everything gold here, and still much has to be done. But somtimes I shudder when I read about the ‘land of the free’, and I sometimes wonder. And surely there are many things to be done for feminismus here no doubt. Perhaps I err, but I think that much of these things come out of religious fundamentalism, and perhaps europe and germany is more sekulär (less faithy) than the US. But I am glad about that, and I get the fruit of my mother’s fights. In any case I cannot really compare as I never were in the US and perhaps never will, as I will not be treated as a criminal with finger print an such when entering. Sorry, I disgress. I just wanted to say that there are some things I like here, and one such thing is that a pharmacist has absolutely no say in handing out medicaments. If as you said a condom broke or such you go to your Arzt (doktor) and ask for the ‘Pille danach’ (‘pill after’), go to the next pharmacy and that was it. I have never heard of any refusals.

    But much has to be done here in europe. In any way I wish you luck, and please wish us luck too. There are many countries in europe where much is badder than in germany. We have much to do with oppressed turkish women immigrants, and I could tell stories you would want to lose your dinner.

    Greetings, Petra

  27. Twisty

    Twisty definitly wishes good luck to Europe. I don’t get over there too often, but it occupies a large, indispensable, sentimental area in my vivid inner life. I mean, it’s very nice knowing it’s there.

    I was just kidding about moving in with you, Petra. Texas is in many respects a hell-hole, but it’s my hell-hole, and it’s home.

  28. legallyblondeez

    In case you’ve not had time to track every single law that affects women’s bodies (and who could–there are so many!), here’s the deal on whether pharmacists have to give you Plan B or, for that matter, any drug that might affect your reproductive system.

    Some states have must-fill laws that say pharmacists have to fill any properly written prescription. Some states have “consience” laws that say pharmacists don’t have to fill any prescription that violates their conscience–including EC. Ohio, as of fall 2006, has a conscience law for abortifacients and had a proposed amendment to that law to add emergency contraception. In addition, Pharmacy Board EO has told the press, “Pharmacists in Ohio may refuse to fill any prescription they don’t feel comfortable

    All this info is gathered from here: http://w3.uchastings.edu/cohen/PDF-Pharmacy/ASPL Presentation Chart NOVEMBER 2006 UPDATE.pdf

  29. Petra

    I understand the bit about Heimat (as I would call it) you said – I also would not go away from here. But whenever you would like to, you would be welcome! It’s nearly 2.00 over here, so good night, and it was very nice to read your blog, and I have saved a book mark.
    Very best wishes!

  30. legallyblondeez

    I don’t know where the percent signs went in the link I posted. Here’s a better try:

  31. maribelle

    Shira wrote: By the way, I broke up with the boyfriend today, for those following that story. Thanks again for the stern talking-to. I needed it

    Shira! Thank goddess. GO YOU!

    Petra wrote: I get the fruit of my mother’s fights.

    I like the way you put that. And three cheers for Europe.

    (PS Sorry for all the warmongering. We’re working on it.)

  32. thebewilderness

    shira, a blessing upon you. I hope you have all you need to be safe.

  33. Samantha

    Okay, first of all, I love the word megatheocorporatocracy.

    Second of all, I feel like I may have a unique perspective on the whole abortion thing, having had one, having had a horrible experience with that, and maintaining that it was – and always should be – my choice to have or not have again.

    So, let’s hear it for Plan B, huh? Here’s my case:

    Shortly after my stupid, 18-year-old, ex-boyfriend ejaculated inside me, without the slightest regard to my having enjoyed or not enjoyed the entire experience, I left for college, magna sum laude and graviditas or “pretty darn smart” and “pretty darn pregnant” for those of you who did not suffer through Latin.

    The memory of driving myself at the age of 17 (due to a lack of trustworthy friends at a new university and a lack of response from the 18 year old Cassanova-at-Large) to a planned parenthood clinic and having the entire procedure described in detail to an intently observing intern who was staring fixedly into my nether regions while the “surgeon” performed his task, not-at-all silently, but IN DETAIL and OUT LOUD with NO ANAESTHETIC BECAUSE I HAD NO ONE TO DRIVE ME HOME.

    So, basically, as a 17-year-old girl who had been impregnated against her will, I was forced to drive myself to the un-doing procedure, not allowed any anaesthetic, forced to listen fully awake to the entire horrid process as it happened to me – the memory of which I carry with me to this day -, required to pay for the procedure on my own, and then made to drive myself home afterward.

    Gimme Plan B any day of the goddamn week over that shit…I still have nightmares to this day…

  34. jami

    samantha, three cheers for plan b indeed. it’s downright pathetic that the people who are the most insanely anti-abortion and all up in our junk about it are the same ones who insist that we get pregnant in the first 72 hours after the tiny rapist romeos start their stupid swim upstream.

  35. goblinbee

    “…and a lack of response from the 18 year old Cassanova-at-Large…”

    Speaking of Casanova, but very off-topic, I have a new student in my before-school math club whose last name is Casanova-Fish. I love this name so much and I want to say it over and over. But I refrain from calling her Ms. Casanova-Fish twenty times a day like I’d like to, because I Am A Professional.

  36. Antelope

    The time I had to get Plan B, the dispensing physician was a decrepit old guy with lots of liver spots and a funny lisp because he was missing about half his teeth, and he was wonderful!! Made it clear that he was required by law to ask me a few questions, and whipped through ’em in a non-judgmental way. Not only told me how far apart to take the 2 pills, but also how much wiggle room there was in that time range so I wouldn’t get paranoid if I was 10 minutes off.

    Then, for the grand finale, he suggested that if the bf & I didn’t like condoms, we should look into vaginal contraceptive film, “that’s what me & the wife used to use before she hit menopause, and it’s very convenient,” he said. For that whole day, I felt like I lived in a sane country, and I don’t feel that way very often.

  37. E

    In Sweden, the “morning-after-pill” or “emergency contraceptive” as it is known here does not require a prescription. They made it prescritpion free in 2001 to get teenage pregnancies and abortions down to a minimum. You don’t have to go to a doctor, you don’t have to explain yourself to a pharmacist, there are no questions. You just go to the pharmacy shelf, pick up as many packs you like and pay for them. Even if you are a teen. There are stern recommendations inside the package, such as “be sure to take a pregnancy test in 4 weeks just to be sure” and “don’t use this pill more than once every cycle since it contains 50 times the hormones in a birth control pill”.

    No godbaggery, no nothing.

  38. twibs

    A woman being denied Plan B at a Wal-Mart because some jerk doesn’t like the idea isn’t surprising at this point, sadly enough. The new, horrible thing about this story is that the guy laughed at her like he would at a little kid who wanted a pony for her birthday. Like something that she was legally qualified to get was completely unreasonable.

    It’s been noted both in the blog proper and in the comments section several times before that Wal-Mart’s policy allowing pharmacists to refuse service on moral grounds is seventeen different kinds of bullshit, but I’d like to note it again. Even if Wal-Mart had a policy allowing, say, a Jewish checker to not scan pork products on moral grounds, it’s highly unlikely that the customer with the refused meat would suffer a lack-of-meat emergency. Denying Plan B, however, results in an excess-of-baby emergency (eventually), which is pretty serious. In conclusion, it’s a good thing I’ve already been accidentally boycotting Wal-Mart for a very long time now, and I will continue to do so.

    On a completely unrelated note, the new banner to the site makes me a little queasy. The patriarchy makes me queasy, too. So it works.

  39. ChapstickAddict

    Shira: Ah, it must feel great to have that burden of a dude off your back. Congrats for dumping him. I hope you managed to get some of your stuff back first! When I dumped my dude, I pretty much had 10 minutes to run around and grab whatever important stuff I could.

    And back to the regularly-scheduled topic: I, too, had to get Plan B, except it was back when one still needed a prescription for it. (The night before, the condom had pretty much exploded–I thought it was funnier than my boyfriend did, though–because my guy had been away for nine days in the middle of nowhere.) However, Planned Parenthood made the whole process pretty easy. I just had to fill out a form on their website (which constituted a “visit to the doctor”) and then go by the next day to pick it up. It was $65 ($20 was the doctor’s fee) and I took the two pills at the same time. I thought I was going to feel ill later, but I didn’t.

    This weekend I’m going to call up the local pharmacies and see if they stock Plan B. (I have a form letter from NARAL that has a few questions to ask each pharmacy, plus a submission form to let them know the results.) I’m very interested which pharmacies I should still be giving my business to. And when I get a good job, I’ll stock up on some Plan B.

  40. DrSue

    Shira, good for you.

    Regarding the pharmacist’s ignorance about how Plan B actually works–I’d be willing to bet he subscribes to the “theory” of creationism, as well. Facts are trivial inconveniences to the true fanatical believer.

  41. ChapstickAddict

    Petra: I actually just finished a paper about feminism over the past 150 years in Germany (mein Nebenfach ist Deutsch). I found out that Germany is #3 in the world in promoting gender equality, but that the patriarchy still very heavily influences family life in the fatherland.

    For the most part, single women are considered equal to men, and are treated as such in the law. Once a woman gets married, however, she loses a little of that equality (not in the law anymore, but moreso in the eyes of the people). I know a woman who lived in Germany and she had her baby over there, and she told me that afterwards, the hospital required her to stay five days after the birth. When she asked why, the nurse told her that it was standard procedure to keep the mother for a few days so that she would have time to rest before she was forced to go back and do all the chores AND all the caring for the new baby. Mothers who had C-sections were kept ten days, because if they were sent home, they would be expected to wake up early and cook the breakfast, like normal.

    (By the way, if you’re looking for an excellent translation site, try http://dict.leo.org)

  42. Katie

    I remember when Plan B (or the Morning After Pill as it is known over here) was released for OTC sale in the UK. I bought it once when I was sixteen, and the pharmacist was extremely kind and professional. Naively perhaps, I assumed two years later when I needed the Morning After pill again that the pharmacist I came up against would have the same level of professionalism. Ha!

    I was treated to many probing questions delivered with utter contempt for both me and the situation I had been so careless to find myself in –
    “Why do you want it?” The answer to this I would have thought would be patently obvious.
    “Why were you not using contraception?” “Why are you not on contraception?” “Why have you taken this before?” The subtle implication being that she clearly believed I was living something of a promiscous lifestyle, rather than say, I was sensibly covering my back in case of emergency.
    The most bizarre question I was asked was – “do you actually think you’re pregnant?” This woman, who surely knew how fertilisation occurred, was asking me if three hours after the event I was actually pregnant!

    Eventually, after twenty minutes of trawling through my sexual history and how many sexual partners I had had – all met with a disgust and contempt that radiated from the pharmacist at all times – she deigned to allow me to buy it. Not of course before taking my name and address, so that if I were to ever return to the same pharmacy she could refuse me it. I even had to provide ID to prove who I was.

    Now I am older and wiser (well, twenty-two), I realise how thoroughly wrong and illegal her behaviour was, but at the time all I cared about was getting the MA pill and not finding myself pregnant. I think that when you are a young woman, you become used to having your decisions and choices met with derision and having to almost play the game to get what you want/need. “Yes, yes, I am a filthy slut, now can I have my meds, please?”

  43. Twisty

    Shira: “By the way, I broke up with the boyfriend today, for those following that story.”

    Fantastic news. We were all pulling for ya.

    See, this is how those awful movies should end. Audrey Hepburn should’ve dumped a pot of McDonald’s-hot coffee in Enry Iggins’ lap and sailed out of the room. To start her own construction business.

  44. deja pseu

    Anyone know if any of these godbag pharmacists have ever refused to fill a Viagra prescription for men who aren’t married?…..


  45. Joolya

    I had to get Plan B in Scotland when I was a student. Damn British condoms. This was the earlier version that made you feel really sick. I went to the casualty (ER) of the local hospital, spoke briefly to a nurse or intern (I forget which) and then went to the chemist. For free. I wasn’t even a citizen.
    Taking it sucked but the experience was easy.
    But, I just want to say, that Plan B is not foolproof. If you have just ovulated, for example, you can still get pregnant. Those little blastocyst buggers can be very stubborn. It’s only 80% effective or something like that. So we still need to keep abortion safe and legal!

  46. Bitey

    Oh, Samantha, I’m so sorry. That’s just terrible, and I hope you’re able to work through the pain of that experience.

    It seems to me that casting the right to an abortion as a reproductive right plays right into the hands of the godbags. They are sex-obsessed, so naturally, any argument they make will center around sex. But this is not really about sex, it is about physical agency. The fact is that whatever I do with any part of my body is NONE OF YOUR GODDAMNED BUSINESS. So the fetus has implanted. That sounds like the fetus’s problem to me. Nobody, not even the fruit of my very own loins, has the right to invade my body and comandeer its resources. This is MY body. The right to abortion, and reproductive rights in general, are an important part of physical agency, but they are only a part. The opposition to abortion is all of a piece with opposition to women fighter pilots, with the fetish of high-heeled shoes, with the fact that parents are legally entitled to any wages earned by their minor offspring. The patriarchy is an ownership culture. They focus on your uterus because they’re horny bastards, but make no mistake: Their hairy paws are everywhere. Agreeing to focus on reproduction, I think, is a tactical error. We should work for freedom from all parasites, not just the ones glomming on to our uterine walls.

    That said, I’d like to share my own experience. I got knocked up when I was twenty. I live in the greater Los Angeles area, and honestly, it was not difficult to get the abortion. The state even paid for it. My parents were supportive, and my mom drove me to the procedure. Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t really want to have the abortion. My stupid, pompous boyfriend wanted me to have the abortion. I rather timidly brought up the topic of adoption, but he brushed me off, saying that he didn’t like the idea of having a kid out there somewhere. He, controlling asshole, thought that he had more decision-making power in the situation than I did, and I, brainwashed and scared, agreed with him. I didn’t want the abortion before it happened, I didn’t want it while it was happening, and I regret it to this day. This is not to say that I think abortion is wrong, or that other women shouldn’t do it at their discretion. I’m saying that it was wrong for me, but that I didn’t know that I had a choice.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  47. the first born fish

    That it. I am turning 18 in a few days, and I am going to buy up as much Plan B as I can and give it to the teenage ladies.

  48. Eurosabr03

    My .02 as an XY currently-male human whose 39 y.o. white female yuppie partner had an absolutely horrific experience acquiring EC at a major-chain major-urban-area blue-state pharmacy…(I remain somewhat scarred by proxy, having been there for the whole mess)…the prescription-only requirement can mean major, harrowing delays due to incompetence/mismanagement, as the patient calls the doctor, the doctor calls the pharmacy, and the pharmacist taking the call fails to relay the info correctly to the duty pharmacist. Include a major failure at every point in the information cycle (initial prescription/filling the prescription/pickup) and you have a recipe for a 12-hour delay in a very time-sensitive situation and a lot of burned nerves, even in the absence of serious godbaggery.

    Yours truly’s overnight “go bag” now contains a standard-issue box of Plan B, which I hope never to need, but probably will at some point. I am not really in quest of brownie points, but this comes in under the category of “Major Life Lesson Well Learned” and I thought I’d share.

  49. maribelle

    Anyone know if any of these godbag pharmacists have ever refused to fill a Viagra prescription for men who aren’t married?…..

    Damn good question, deja pseu. That would be a good follow-up question to the NARAL Plan B Pharmacy Script posted on the above link by Chapstick Addict.

  50. Bitey

    Hmm. Can a dude buy Plan B?

  51. mustelid

    Shira, good to hear you’ve ditched the loser. Getting back on topic, I’m already boycotting Walmart for their piss-poor treatment of women (and their workforce in general). Personally, I’d love to see a countermovement that seeks a ban on viagra. After all, if your pecker goes limp, it’s all part of the Divine Plan. Don’t subvert the Lord’s will for your willie!

  52. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Don’t the state licensing entities have the power to require pharmacists to perform their duties? Fill the scripts or lose your license seems reasonable to me.

  53. perinteger

    Hello all,

    This doesn’t follow the course of the discussion at all, but while following some links on this story I noticed that Tashina Byrd has a gift registry. Since some may want to show their support in a more personal way (maybe buying her that “prochoice mother of 5” sticker), I thought I’d pass it along


  54. Zoe

    Bitey: YES! Dudes may buy Plan B, provided they are over 18.

  55. Pony

    Perinteger, which do you recommend as essential to Ms Byrd’s present feminist needs–the 5 inch Chunky Heels, or the Feminist Power Classic thong?

  56. thebewilderness

    Bitey, yes they can.

  57. Bitey

    I *never* shop at WalMart, but on the advice of Feminist Law Professors, linked to at the bottom of this thread, I just went there to buy some Plan B.

    I was pretty nervous about this, as I loathe confrontation, but I charged my nerves with the thought of how much more nervous a person might be if she actually needed it, and if she weren’t as informed as I am fortunate enough to be. To my satisfaction and relief, however, I can report that the purchase went perfectly smoothly, with no judgmental questions or even a hint of hostility. I went to the prescription drop-off window and told the pharmacist that I wanted Plan B. She nodded and asked whether I wanted prescription or OTC, so I said OTC, and she checked to make sure it was in stock. She then asked me whether I am over eighteen, and when I said I was, she directed me to the other pharmacist at the check-out counter. I waited in a short line to see him, and when I told him what I wanted, he said, “Oh! Sure.” He checked my ID and asked me whether I had taken it before. I said I had (true). He asked whether I had any questions. I didn’t. He rang me up. I paid the $46.16, thanked him, and left. Easy as pie. To be a sport, I picked up some dog treats and a jug of water, too. (I would have gotten a doggie sweater, but they all said things like “Size Doesn’t Matter,” and “My Owner is Hotter than Your Owner.” Blech.)

    Your turn.

  58. uccellina

    Bitey – way to set the bar for the rest of us :-)

    I think I’m going to go to pharmacy school, go to work for WalMart, and then refuse to dispense Viagra on the grounds that it’s against my religious beliefs, out of sheer pissed-offedness over this bullshit.

  59. slownews

    And how about that other monopoly, I mean, megatheocorpratocracy, Walgreens? Does anyone know their level of cool with Plan B? I am very concerned about all the people who live in places where their only pharmacy choice is Wal Mart. This is just one more reason to mourn the passing of the neighborhood pharmacy. (First reason is a lack of decent penny candy.)

    First time blamer here. Thank you for this site. I consult it whenever I can stand the extra surge of anger. Everyone expresses things so much more beautifully than I can. Bless yous.

  60. Pony

    Men advertise on usenet trying to buy “a couple blue ones for a big weekend I’m planning”. So why shouldn’t you get some Plan B and either keep it for your special weekend, or advertise it for sale in the campus newspaper I say. I would think you’ll be ethical and not make a profit. But let’s run a pool to see how soon they try to shut you down, while no one says anything but booya when guys do it with Viagra. Which by the way has a sideffect blindness. Really.

  61. po-mosucks

    This Plan-B BS is not to be believed! I am surprised that there are any pharmacists on duty at all. Here’s why. If they are so concerned with all elements that make up “life” where are their efforts at stopping men’s “wasteful self-abuse”?! Surely such a mission is worthy of any godbag.

  62. Naz

    Wow. So after reading lots or arguments, articles, and blogs that refer to Plan B, I now know what it is. Strangely enough, it turns out I’ve actually taken this medication. Yes, I’m that irresponsible person who forgets to take their pill, remembers it at 4am, then frantically scrabbles around in the dark for the one that says “Friday” and accidentally takes the placebo. I’ve done it twice. If I’d got pregnant because of those incidents and had kids I’d probably forget them in the car or at the grocery story on a regular basis. So for the sake of the aforementioned unborn children, its a good thing the ‘Morning after Pill’ (ie Plan B) is freely available – without judgement – at pharmacies all around South Africa.

    My country has a long way to go. Women here have a *really* rough time or all sorts of socio-economic reasons but our constitution ensures that women and girls have unrestricted, government funded access to birth control, emergency contraceptives, and abortions.

    So I find it very strange – scary even – when I read about how women who live in one of the most advanced, progressive countries in the world are treated when seeking emergency contraceptives and abortions.

  63. mearl

    Would Wal-Mart support my choice as a cashier to impose my atheism on the numerous religious people who came in as customers by refusing them the right to buy Christian greeting cards or books even though my store carried them? Hmmm….PROBABLY NOT. So whose belief is more important?

    Shira 1, Patriarchy 0. Rock on, Shira!

  64. susan

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said, except for the part about the polishing of the letter. I don’t think it’s helpful to suggest that a woman named Tashina Byrd (obviously black) could NEVER write a coherent, polished letter with three syallable words. Let’s not let our justified outrage about the patriarchy make us all blind to our own racism, right?

  65. Twisty

    “Perinteger, which do you recommend as essential to Ms Byrd’s present feminist needs–the 5 inch Chunky Heels, or the Feminist Power Classic thong?”


  66. Twisty

    I am interested, Susan, in the method you used to determine the racial origin of Tashina Byrd.

    Meanwhile, you have apparently misconstrued the essence of my objections to the NARAL letter.

  67. Dykonoclast

    Um, Susan? For someone bitching about internalized racism, you were very quick to assume [incorrectly] Tashina’s ethnic origin. Tashina is white. I know because I’ve seen two pictures of her– though the one that came with the NARAL alert was highly photoshopped to make her hawter.

    And everything Twisty said, too.

  68. kate

    “See, this is how those awful movies should end. Audrey Hepburn should’ve dumped a pot of McDonald’s-hot coffee in Enry Iggins’ lap and sailed out of the room. To start her own construction business.”

    Alas, I wish more women would, its awful lonely out here sometimes.

    I don’t understand the wish list thing. Some women have been through stuff could bring a tear to a North Dakota Senator’s eye, but I don’t think they ever put up a wish list to get gifts from strangers. Not that I’m knockin it, but how come I’m always the last to learn about these kinda things?

    The thong by the way, might have organizing potential — flashing at biker rallies?

  69. jaye

    “If they are so concerned with all elements that make up “life” where are their efforts at stopping men’s “wasteful self-abuse”?! Surely such a mission is worthy of any godbag.”

    I can hardly type this. I am fighting the urge to run up to Wall*Hell and run down the alse screaming “stop wasting your seed my brothers, stop jacking off!”

  70. Laurel

    Wait! This shit is $46.16???????!!! Other legitimate issues aside, what the fuck is with the PRICE?

  71. Pony

    Oh goodness Laurel, the marketing. It’s so expensive. All those billboards and media spots, pitching those little blue pi.. Oh wait that’s Viagra.

    Apparently it’s the counselling. Pharmacist’s are urged by their professional associations to counsel you. To do this they will need to know when you last had sex, how many times you have had sex in the past 24 hours, if you used a condom, if it broke, if you have a venereal disease, if you are on the pill, if you’ve had oral sex, when you’ve last had your period. Whew.




  72. ladyjaye

    I’m always appalled when I read about an American pharmacist refusing to sell the pill or Plan B and getting away with it. Here in Quebec, this is unheard of — the pharmacists’ professional order would be on that person’s ass in no time and they’d be fined and/or suspended. (and yeah, Plan B has been OTC here for the past couple of years, but for anyone age 14 and over).

    Anyways, what’s next, banning condoms because they encourage promiscuity in this day and age of abstinence? I wouldn’t be surprised, considering how there’s been an anti-condom campaign for a while… *rolls eyes*

  73. Caroc

    To my mind, christianists such as Mr Beams don’t really do anything on religious grounds, but on power grounds. They want women to do what THEY say. Imagine the thrill when Mr Beams realised that he could deny a woman what she needed and to laugh at her at the same time. He must have been giddy with the power-freak for months.

    May I recall the immortal feminist essay by Anna Lee? She says ‘it’s all about power.’ And yes, even a bumptious pharmacist sups up that gravy.

  74. Tashina

    Yeah, I’m disappointed they won’t let me tell it like it is as well. So you caught me, googling my name for things to touch on tonight at c-bus ohio’s EC and Ice Cream…anyway. There’s another NARAL thing coming out, the same rehashing they just want me to slap my name on. I’m torn between saying “I’LL WRITE IT MYSELF!” and the idea of at least getting the damned message out. Ugh. I haven’t spoken about it online, because I don’t like that kind of self promotion, but I just had to say that about the NARAL pr writing thing.

  75. Twisty

    Hey Tashina, you’re more than welcome to write your own account here. I view it not as self-promotion, but as cause-promotion. Readers of this blog share their harrowing experiences with injustice all the time, to everyone’s benefit.

  76. Tashina

    I love some of the responses here. That the picture was photoshopped (they did make my hair seem shorter) when the fact of the matter was the guy in columbus went out of his way to keep asking me to hold my head lower and lower, giving me the double chin effect. Makes me wonder if it wasn’t his intention to make me look like crap due to his own politics. And I started that wishlist last year around halloween, I happen to like goth clubs. Heaven forbid a woman not take her image too seriously.

    Anywhoo, not that any of that has to do with anything. Even if I’d just rolled out of bed with a red plastic beer cup stuck to my ass, jizz in my hair, and walked in with four kids and six guys, every woman is entitled Plan B. It doesn’t matter who I am, what I’m into, what kind of life I lead. It just happens I lead one that’s relatively marketable. The whole monogamy, already has a kid thing played into this pretty perfectly but I’d have come forward regardless. If we don’t SAY SOMETHING then nothing will change. And this guy was a dick.

  77. Crystal

    I know this is kind of an unpopular view, but I think that it makes sense to have Plan B distributed by prescription, only because the level of hormones make it unhealthy to use more than occasionally. I suppose that the problem with this is the amount of (very crucial) time that this can take. Perhaps just showing ID and them registering your name to make sure you’re not coming in to get it too often would be more appropriate (for women of all ages).
    What bums me out about this, besides the obvious ridiculousness of denying contraception to any woman, is the high price. I mean, luckily I’ve never needed to get this, but being young and extremely poor, I know that there are many times (actually most of the time) when I absolutely would not have the money for a $50 pill.
    I’m not sexually active right now so I’m not on birth control, but as an uninsured person, I’m not sure if it will be easy for me to afford it when I do. This really bums me out. I find it weird that the state will pay welfare to women who have children they can’t afford, but won’t pay for contraception for women who can’t afford it.

  1. The Writing On The Wal » Blog Archive » IT MUST SUCK TO BE BRENT BEAMS…

    […] The Tashina Bryd/Brent Beams meme is spreading across the country and writers are using not a little sarcasm in describing their feelings on the subject. A particularly vitirolic skewering of Beams come from I Blame The Patriarchy: […]

  2. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Easy Activism: Go To Your Local Wal-Mart And Ask For Plan B

    […] Later today I will visit several Wal-Mart pharmacies and request Plan B. Here’s why. Via IBTP. I don’t generally shop at Wal-Mart, although I recognize that the alternative big box discount department store that I frequent, Target, doesn’t give me much in the way of moral high ground either, see also. Learn more about Plan B from the pharmaceutical company that makes it or from the FDA or from Princeton U. […]

  3. End of Silence - Freedom hating on the internets since 2002 » links for 2007-02-17

    […] Wal-Mart: supporting a pharmacist’s right to choose at I Blame The Patriarchy Twisty weighs in on the recent Wal-Mart / Plan B fracas. Wal-Mart sucks and pharmacists who don’t do their job suck, especially holier-than-thou pharmacists. This really makes me mad. I would’ve strangled the guy. Seriously. (tags: walmart planb ignorance pharmacist twisty) […]

  4. I Blame the Patriarchy. And The Matriarchy, Too. « MotherMe

    […] Anyway, one of Twisty’s recent posts concerns a WalMart pharmacist who allegedly denied a young woman the over-the-pharmacist’s-counter “Plan B” contraceptive pill, and who then sniggered at the woman’s vain attempt to procure said pill from his Bastion of Moral Highroadiness. Dear Twisty is rightly outraged at this nasty tale. As am I. […]

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