Ranty, ranty...

It’s very possible that I smell pretty today, although I’m not entirely sure I can tell. I bought a new body wash and lotion yesterday, and they smell like toffee – a bit like slightly burnt toffee when I use the body wash, but still very tasty nonetheless. The body butter is pretty nice, too; it seems to be helping my poor winter-sucking legs out.

This is my shallow post, in response to my more in-depth one, it would seem. However, I could always get into issues.

Let’s see… latest news I’ve read has some pharmacists who were refusing to issue birth control to their clients (here and here were the original sources I used), which I wrote about back here, are now being punished (reference here). What can I say, but that this encouraging at least for Illinois-area women. Although I should clarify; these pharmacists are being taken to task for not selling the morning-after pill; other pharmacists were refusing to sell birth control pills.

Now, one line in particular from the article confuses me somewhat: ”Walgreen policy says pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions to which they are morally opposed — except where state law prohibits — but they must take steps to have the prescription filled by another pharmacist or store, Bruce said.”
I’m curious… what other prescriptions, aside from perhaps Viagra or its derivatives, would be something to which people would be “morally opposed’? I mean, it’s not as though pharmacists are dispensing medications made from clubbed baby seals, or ground-up baby parts, or anything of the sort, right? Why is it that moral opposition always seems to concentrate on sexuality? Would there be pharmacists (perhaps Jehovah’s Witnesses?) who were morally opposed to dispensing anti-rejection drugs for someone who had had an organ transplant, and would refuse to dispense them? Wouldn’t the outrage and furor be loud in a case like that? Why is there only a murmur when it only affects one gender, or happens to be something that affects sexuality?

Grr. Getting myself somewhat worked up here. I wonder if these same pharmacists happen to keep the condoms behind the pharmacy shelf and require their patrons to request them, so that they can then deny them. I wonder if these pharmacists ‘allow’ their wives to use birth control pills. I wonder if they use condoms in order to prevent pregnancy.

I understand that some people consider life to begin at conception, or some people even consider the egg and sperm to be living, and so they feel that birth control pills, by preventing an egg from implanting, to be impeding life. I’m not about to get into an argument with someone over when ‘life’ begins. But I have to wonder… for those people who believe that life begins before conception – do they mourn when they have a wet dream? Do they mourn a woman’s period? Am I just talking out of my ass without properly looking up anything I’m talking about and only working off of vague recollections?

Yeah, sorry. I haven’t spent as much time writing this missive as I did the last one on this subject. :) Needless to say… I’m cheering the fact that Walgreens is punishing these pharmacists. For a woman in need of the morning-after pill, time is of the essence, and being denied access to the medication, or not being told where else she might be able to obtain it, is terrible.

Speaking of morning-after pills… the Canadians aren’t entirely blameless in this situation, either. There have been several articles I have read on this subject, but the link I’m providing is to the Hamilton Spectator’s article, because it’s the one I bookmarked from work. I can’t guarantee how long the link is going to be active, I’m afraid, but if it disappears, well… there are plenty of places to find similar information, I’m sure.

Anyhow, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, who, if I’m interpreting this correctly, design the guidelines for the pharmacists across Canada, which requires pharmacists ask women for: their name, address, the date of their last menstrual period (as opposed to what other kind?), when you had unprotected sex, and your customary method of birth control. Not to mention, this information is going to be stored in a computer, and as the editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal points out, can be subpoenaed.
Now. On the one hand, I don’t really care too much about people reading my medical history. For the most part, it’s a pretty boring litany of the regular complaints – occasional ear infections, a personal history of benign skin staph infections that all babies get and some simply don’t get rid of (yay me), colds that went on to long, annual checkups, and lately, the dreaded PAP smear. Whoop-de-shit. Granted, there is some information in there that I choose to reveal to a very short list of people that I wouldn’t necessarily feel like having emblazoned wherever this kind of stuff was going to be emblazoned (I imagine it would be more of a problem if I wanted to become a political figure, or a religious one), but on this same one hand, I overall don’t care too much about it becoming public knowledge.

However… on the other hand, I do care to keep my personal information personal, I don’t like the U.S. policy of huge openness and transparency (a favourite government buzzphrase now) in the interests of protecting myself from apparent terrorist threat, and I don’t feel that anyone has the need to or ought to know when my last period was, when I had unprotected sex, and what, if any, form of birth control I regularly use.

On the one hand, I can see that this might be a ‘good’ way of tracking women who are irresponsible and regularly have unprotected sex, and maybe trying to convince them that using condoms or some other form of birth control might be in their better interest.

However, on the other hand, this type of risky behaviour is not something women engage in alone. Men are typically very eager and willing participants in the sex act, and if this is consensual partner sex, then fucking make sure you are using something.

It’s one thing if the woman fucks up on her birth control – be it the pill, the patch, the sponge, or whatnot – or takes some medication or herbal supplements that interfere with a hormonal birth control product. This type of thing does happen, women are human, and mistakes get made.

But if you know for a fact that your partner is not on any kind of hormonal birth control, then ‘just risking it this once’ is a dumb fucking idea. Use a condom. If you can’t come easily with a condom on, their either fuck until you want to come and get a blowjob/handjob/finish yourself off, or practice beating off with a condom on so that you can manage it. Try different condoms. Try putting lube in the condom. Get more foreplay before you start fucking. Experiment. But don’t just risk it, because in the end, I’m sorry, but I do believe that it is easier in one sense for men to walk away from a pregnancy or a baby than it is for women. That’s another point I could go off on, but that’s not my current rant.

If a woman is raped, then I fully support her in her quest for the morning-after pill, an abortion, or any other type of recourse she might choose to take. If she chose to keep her baby, then I fully support that notion, too. I don’t know if I would want to in that situation, but, and I knock wood as I say this, it’s thankfully not an issue I have had to deal with up to this stage in my life.

From the information I have read on rape victims, it’s my understanding that it’s difficult enough to pick up and go on with your life. Reporting it to the police and having to repeat your story over and over again is difficult enough, let alone suddenly be presented with a pharmacist who – though they may be only following guidelines – is asking you when you had this unprotected sex, and what birth control you usually use. This is being done as a way to ‘counsel’ women. Does this mean that the pharmacist, or the CPhA is going to take on responsibility to counsel the women who have been raped? What do they see as ‘counselling’ anyhow? Talking to women about responsible birth control? Does this include the women who are already well-versed in birth control and maybe forgot to take a pill one day for whatever reason? Or is this being reserved for the women who use nothing? Will there be a seminar that women are forced to endure before being dispensed their medication, or simply a pamphlet? A sermon from a pious pharmacist who only knows the answers you give him or her, and not the possibly mitigating circumstances?

I like to think that if I had been raped, and a pharmacist started asking me these kinds of questions, I'd get angry and yell at them. "When I had this unprotected sex? Oh, I didn't have sex. I was fucking raped. And no, it wasn't because I asked for it, I wasn't wearing a short skirt, I didn't flirt with the guys, etc... Rape isn't about sex, it's about power. This asshole felt he needed to have power over me, and so he took his cock and he fucked me without my permission. When did this happen? Two days ago. And as you can see, I'm just over the moon about it. Thank you very much. Can I have my fucking drugs now, so that I can reduce the chance that in addition to violating me, making me go through rounds of personal questions with strangers such as yourself, making me go through sexually transmitted disease testing to ensure that he didn't give me something that could fuck up my chances of having children with a future husband or of having something like HIV or AIDS, and making me feel like shit, this asshole didn't also impregnate me with a child I didn't choose to have at this time?!?"

But I can't know that, since I haven't been raped. But I'd like to think I'd do something like that. Of course, I often think of having conversations like that, but I rarely do. I'm actually a lot nicer than most people realize, surprising as that is going to sound. I think of many worse things than I ever actually do or say... much as I'd like to. But moving on.

I took the morning-after pill once. It’s a bit of a misnomer; there are two pills that you take 12 hours apart. Guess what? They’re not fun. It’s essentially a huge dose of birth control pills, and it made me nauseous enough to spend a day at home. Most women are not doing this sort of thing for fun, I will go out on a limb and assure you.

Finally… I’m frustrated with the blame and judgement that seems to get assigned to women for taking responsibility of their sexuality. People make mistakes, and fuck up on their birth control. It happens, don’t judge them. If it happens often enough, then sure, I think they should switch methods of birth control. I applaud my girlfriend who recognizes that she would never remember to take the pill, and uses other methods of birth control. Good for her.

Someone who has unprotected sex. Okay, they’re dumb. But as I said, it’s not just the woman’s fault. The guy needs to take responsibility and put on a condom, even if it might affect the sex. Guess what? It can affect the sex for us, too. But there are men I know who have never had sex without a condom, even if the woman is on the pill. Good for them; they’re being responsible.

Someone who has been raped. Don’t even get me started. It’s not your business to know this. The question of when you last had sex may be medically necessary, in order to ensure the pill is being used when it would still be effective – up to 72 hours after sex has occurred – but that can be achieved with a simple caution or advisory from the pharmacist before they dispense it: “I need to tell you that this is only going to be effective up to 3 days/72 hours after sex has taken place. If it has been longer than that time, then this pill may not/will not help you.” Then, depending on their response or lack thereof, dispense it anyways. It’s not as though this is a drug that can be used recreationally (to my knowledge, at least).

And although I’m sure I have more to say on the matter, I’m going to wrap this up with one final point. I find it ironic that the CPhA wants to counsel women who want the morning-after pill, but they publish a patient guide that includes, in the 2006 guide at least, tips for better sex in later life. That somehow just strikes me as … not quite right. Maybe I’m reading too much into this.

The moral:

Men: you are also responsible for birth control. Use condoms, or make sure your partner is on something.

Women: speak the fuck up. If you’re not on something that will prevent babies, make sure you use condoms. Insist on it! If he won’t, then either do other things or nothing at all.

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