Plans B Damned: The Quest for Emergency Contraception

The condom broke, came off, or in some other way malfunctioned. He was behind me and I couldn’t tell he wasn’t using one. We just got carried away and he didn’t pull out in time. I forgot to take my birth control. I had an appointment to get on the pill, but we didn’t wait.

There are a whole slew of reasons a woman might find herself in need of a morning after pill; emergency contraception; Plan B. But unless you have Plan B already waiting in your medicine cabinet, it is highly unlikely you’ll get your hands on a morning-after pill the morning after.

I am a middle class 29 year old mother of three, living in the Midwest, who sees a physician regularly. I have kept up on the news about Plan B’s availability over the counter at major drug stores. In my line of work, I regularly tell teens and young adults to always use protection, and tell girls of reproductive age who aren’t so into the whole reproduction thing that they should be on birth control.

I encouraged young women and men to seek Plan B if their contraceptive method failed or they forgot to use contraception, telling them it was easy to obtain. But was it?

On a Tuesday morning at 7 a.m., I set out to discover just how easy it would be for me to get my hands on some emergency contraception. It all started with a web search.

Google: Plan B, Wisconsin, Over the Counter

My Internet search lead me to the Plan B website, which was helpful in telling me how the medication worked and what to expect after taking the two twelve-hour staggered doses of the hormone used in birth control pills at a super concentrated dose. When it came to where I could find the medication, I expected a zip code look up function. When I saw that no such function existed, I started to call the local pharmacies.

The sweet sounding girl who answered the phone, didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, and then ran off to ask the pharmacist, told me that I needed to get a prescription from my doctor. Given that I had just read that Plan B was available over-the-counter, this seemed strange to me, but given that this pharmacy indubitably deals with such requests frequently, I took the girl’s word for it. I called my primary physician’s office.

"Does Dr. M have any openings today?"

"Why, yes, he sure does," responds the receptionist. "And your name? Okay, Nikol, what do you need to see him for today?"

"Contraception. Birth Control. It is urgent that I see him today."

"Hmm. Will you hold please? I don’t think we… I mean, appointments are…"

So I hold. I listen to a soothing bit of elevator music and a woman talking about proper nutrition. Just as I am really getting into it and considering if my calcium supplement is really that great, the receptionist breaks back in.

"Sorry, Nikol. We don’t have openings for that purpose today. I can get you in to see him in, oh, two weeks."

"I’d be happy to do that, but for right now I need to know if he can call in a prescription for Plan B for me."

"What’s Plan B?"

"Emergency contraception."

A moment passes where I hear her take this in. It sounds as if she may have breathed in a bit of potato chip. There is some coughing, but not the hearty, openly hacking kind. I am wondering why she is eating potato chips so early in the morning, and thinking of referring her to the hold message so she can better understand the importance of a proper breakfast. Then I realize she is making that noise due to mental discomfort.

"Ohhh. Oh. Oh, well then I will get this message to him right away. Yes, right away."

She seems lost, so I think for her.

"Do you need to know which pharmacy to call and the best number to reach me at? And should we go ahead and schedule that follow up so I don’t have to bother you with this call again?"

"You still want to?"

I am silent. Does she think I am strictly an emergency kind of woman? Does she think I wanted to just give her a jingle every time I had a semen mishap? Perhaps she and I will get familiar with this process. I can imagine dialing her up. "Hey, Janine. It’s me. You know who, silly! Yes, it is that time of month again. Oh, stop it. Stop it! You’d love this one. A real cutey."

We schedule the appointment and I hang up to ponder how I would be feeling if I were really worried about getting knocked up. I wait for the call letting me know that the prescription has been called in. When the return call comes, it’s not the receptionist but a prerecorded message: "Please call me back. I see here in my notes that you have an appointment but want a Plan B."

I call back and hold hold hold only to be told that they are really busy today and will call back. This time I decide that I will use my wait time to contact the local Planned Parenthood. I am surprised to find that there is one very near my house.

Planned Parenthood sends me into into button pressing limbo. When I press "2" as indicated, that recorded voice tells me I have selected an invalid entry. When I press "0" for a person, I am directed into voice mail. I call back and restart my button pressing.

Once I reach a real person things look promising. All I have to do is come in with a photo i.d. proving that I am over 18 and fill out a bunch of paperwork; then they will give me the drug and tell me how to use it. Without my prompting, the woman on the phone talks about the cost.

"We can fund some of the cost, so it is going to cost between twenty five and forty dollars. You need to bring in the past two months’ pay stubs and proof that you were born in Wisconsin."

"What if I am under 18? Not that I am, I was just wondering."

"Well, you would need a prescription."

Meanwhile, a nurse from my doctors’s office calls back and tells me she is confused. A note informed her that I have made an appointment, but need Plan B. Given her response, I assume the desk clerk has not capitalized Plan or B.

"So, what is your plan b?" she asks me.

"No. I need Plan B. A prescription."

"A prescription for what?"

"Plan B."

"What is that plan?"

Can we say Abbott and Costello meets tragic lack of education regarding this drug?

"Emergency contraception. It is called Plan B. I called the pharmacy and they said I need a prescription."

"Oh. Wait. Did you have unprotected sex?"

"Well, er, see. There was a bit of a catastrophe. And I need the prescription."

I feel ashamed as she asks me if I usually have unprotected sex and whether I considered using birth control. That shame is taken over by my amusement at having used the word catastrophe. Being a visually imaginative person, I am seeing a typhoon of semen ripping its way through a island-like vaginal cavity, destroying everything in its path.

"Obviously I don’t want to have this conversation ever again. I made an appointment to talk to Dr. M about birth control."

"Okay. Well, I need to talk to him about this."

"Yes, you would," I respond. "He would need to be the one writing the scrip."

My shame returns. Here I am, a grown woman asking for birth control that I don’t even really need, yet I cannot shake this feeling that I am the town harlot in a back alley looking for the seedy looking fellow with a rusty coat hanger. She may have been right to imply that grown people should know how to avoid this situation in the first place, but perhaps a bit more professionalism and less judgment in her tone would have been appropriate.

Finally the nurse calls again, to inform me that I can get Plan B over the counter. When I tell her that the pharmacy told me otherwise, she says that some pharmacies refuse to fill the prescription or to offer it over the counter based on their moral beliefs.

I call the Pharmacy #1 again. I tell them that I don’t need a prescription and they tell me that I do. I mention that I am over eighteen and they tell me that they don’t have any in stock.

I have more luck at the second pharmacy I call, but the salesclerk tells me they only have one more in stock, so I should come in soon. What kind of strange sales pitch is that? Come in quick, folks, all the emergency contraception is flying off the shelves this summer! I can hear "Time of the Season" running behind that ad.

I go to the closest pharmacy to the grocery store because I need to pick up some fresh basil. While waiting in line I think of all of the people also there, waiting on their various medications, and I wonder how many of them have even heard of Plan B, and, of those who have, how many realize that it isn’t an abortion pill.

When the fresh, bright-faced Midwestern college student calls me to the register, I say confidently, "I am here to pick up Plan B."

She moves to her computer habitually asking, "And how do you spell the last name?"

"No. I need Plan B. Over the counter."

Bless her, too, because when the realization hits her about what I need she seems almost proud to get it for me. She tells me she likes my hand bag and tries not to linger on the guy I am there with — who is purposefully checking out the personal lubrication and condom area.

Forty-three dollars and change, and an i.d. check later, I am told to move to the side so the pharmacist can discuss the medication with me.

"Have you ever taken this before?" The pharmacist turns to me, but focuses on something that I assume is fascinating just beyond my head. I turn to look at it, too, but I guess I don’t find local analgesics as fascinating as this dude.

The best bit of information he gives me is that if I should happen to vomit within 20 minutes of taking the first pill, I should take the second right away. Oh, and he adds, "This isn’t to be used for the, uh, whole time or anything."

I am officially feeling ashamed at this point. I didn’t know that was possible for me, but something about the tone of the pharmacist’s voice as he speaks down to me like I am some sort of idiot who cannot even manage to use protection just brings it home. How must other women feel as the pharmacists of the world give them the stink eye and speak really slowly to them?

When my boyfriend, who has gracefully come along with me on this adventure, approaches holding a bottle of lube, he asks loud enough for anyone nearby to hear how much my medication cost.

"It was $43.00," I tell him, and he offers to pay half, putting his bottle of lube on the counter for purchase. I love him a little just then. He’s helped bring me back to how very natural this process ought to be.

"If you have any problems at all, you can call us," the pharmacist offers. I give him a Fonz style double thumbs up and head to the door, wondering how the fuck people make it through these situations without hating themselves.


How much did I even know about Plan B before I spent a day trying to procure some? Very little. I had breezed through a few internet forums about how it works, but for some reason my head was quite stuck in thinking of it as a mini-abortion. All of the hubbub in the media about this controversial new form of contraception had made me believe that this little box of two super charged hormonal pills was something it was not. Beyond that, I thought purchasing it would be as easy as buying smokes was back when I was sixteen.

The most important thing I have learned because of my work with Midwest Teen Sex Show has had very little to do with sex or even teen sexuality itself. The most prominent among my findings is my realization that, even in knowing more than the average American consumer about sex, I don’t know a goddam thing.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • invalid-0


    I really enjoyed your story and truly appreciate your writing style. You very much get the reader to “come along” with you for the ride.

    However, I am aghast at the levity you bring to such a serious topic.

    At the end of your blog, in referring to using Plan B, you say your “head was quite stuck in thinking of it as a mini-abortion”. (You make this all sound so cute and trivial.) Plan B does not cause a mini-abortion; it causes an abortion. (Would you also joke about someone having a mini-brain tumor or mini-leukemia?) How dare you trivialize such a thing? In taking this drug you end a human life–there is nothing more important than that! This unborn baby will never see the light of day, be held by his or her mother or father, smile, run through the grass, go to school, or raise a family.

    You also mention that there are a “whole slew of reasons a woman might find herself in need of a morning after pill” but I can’t think of one. How could a girl/woman have an unplanned pregnancy? Wouldn’t you agree these girls/women understand that intercourse is the cause of pregnancy? Where’s the mystery?

    Then, and with even a hint of smugness detected, you say you “regularly tell teens and young adults to always use protection, and tell girls of reproductive age who aren’t so into the whole reproduction thing that they should be on birth control.” Don’t you think your efforts might be better spent telling these all-too-young-for-sex adolescents to just keep their clothes on and study or go to a movie or do something constructive?

    I work with a lot of teens and young adults, too, and I just don’t see that they are ready to embark on the most intense and deep issues of sexual intimacy. How can that be good for someone so young?

    Also, just the fact that you get these “kids” on birth control–that fact alone–tells them to simply “go for it”, have all the sex you want as there are no consequences. Well, I can think of two everlasting and life-altering consequences:

    (1) Loss of innocence (what ever happened to a kid being a kid anymore?)
    (2) Abortion (“accidents” happen, like you say: “condoms break, come off, etc” and so now what do you do? Resort to killing an innocent unborn little one to “clean up the mess”? Why does he/she have to pay the ultimate price for his/her mother’s and father’s misguided actions with the totality of his/her life? Could you mini-kill one of your three little children, Nikol?

    What can we do to bring back a more wholesome way of living–especially for the young? Shall we simply give up and continue to pass out band-aids (contraception) or instead work to create the mindset of waiting (abstinence)? I pray every day that folks like you will make an everlasting positive impact on the youth. Your thoughts?

    • amanda-marcotte

      If we can’t talk about these topics with humor and intelligence, most people will tune us out.  You can actually educate better with honey than vinegar.


      Plan B, by the way, prevents any kind of embryonic life from being formed.  It works the same way as the birth control pill, by stopping ovulation.


      As for the more wholesome way of living, how do you know how people in the past lived?  You weren’t there.  There’s strong evidence that they had sex for fun, though.  I know, shocking.  Your church told you that before 1960, people only did it once a month, and it was a grim march towards conception.  But if you get out and read some, you’ll find people have never been "wholesome", and they’ve always had sex because it feels good.

      • invalid-0

        How do you know what churcxh, if any, the writer goes to? Maybe she was just raised in a modest household…while I agree that most Churhces preached “sex only for procreation” (as many still do)…it was also an accepted cultural idea for a long time…thanks to the sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s…and then the AIDS epidemic we are SITLL facing…sex is changing and so are we. Thank GOODNESS

    • invalid-0

      Tommy, are you a mini-brained moron? Plan B does NOT cause abortions any more than birth-contol pills do.
      If you don’t like the subject matter STAY OFF THE SITE! Stick to your born-again crap sites– We are into reality here.

    • invalid-0

      Little Tommy said :”You also mention that there are a “whole slew of reasons a woman might find herself in need of a morning after pill” but I can’t think of one” – how about Rape, little Tommy, ever hear of that? How about a drunk hubby coming home to his sleeping wife and wanting a little action? How about a girl getting “roofies” in her drink and waking up with no clothes on at some guy’s house? How about… you get the picture yet, ya little moron?

    • invalid-0

      Plan B is not an abortion. If you choose to ignore the science behind it, of course you will continue to believe that it is an abortion. Plan B simply prevents the egg from implanting in the uterus, if it has already implanted Plan B will not harm the embryo.

      Of course we should encourage abstinence, but we should also teach alternatives that are safe and healthy, such as birth control, so that when people decide to have sex that they are prepared.

      Your tone of having a moral high ground on the subject makes your points weak. People are going to make their own decisions, the least we can do is give the scientific facts and not distort the truth.

    • invalid-0

      Tommy says that he “can’t think of” a reason why a “girl/woman” would need the morning after or Plan B pill.
      This is because Tommy is a male; taking no responsibility for reproductive responsibility and putting the onus solely on the female.
      Tommy, have you heard of (or perhaps been guilty of) “date-rape”? or, how about forceful or violent sexual assault? incest? gang rape? a female, especially a girl, is no match for a determined group of sexual predators. and pregnancy is not the males’ problem, anyways.
      Or, there is the condom breaking, the diaphragm failing, many alternate scenarios of responsible birth control failing.
      Your view of young females as lustful whores who will only abstain from sex for fear of pregnancy or STDs is sexist, ignorant, and insulting. You owe an apology to all young women struggling to develop a sense of self in this society which exploits the images of women as purely sexual objects or obedient matroids (matron + android).
      I have worked with children who are the “accidental” result of incest. They often have disabilities (retardation, blindness, deafness, etc.); they always have severe emotional and psychological distress/trauma from being raised by a “girl/woman” who was not only violated and abused but was then forced to bear and raise that “accident”. The male may or may not be incarcerated, and society gives him a slap on the wrist while expecting the victim to be a suffering saint. otherwise, she’s a terrible mother, and by extension, a terrible person, right?
      Wrong. You are the terrible person, Tommy.
      Human social and sexual interactions are a lot more complex than the “she spread her legs, she hatches the eggs” mentality that you demonstrate.
      I pray that you are sterile, or at least have no daughters.

    • invalid-0

      Dear Tommy,

      First of all, of course, you have the right to voice your opinion. Abortion, unfortunately, will be a never ending controversy.

      I would recommend reading up a little on Plan B before harshly criticizing Nikol for her pro-education endeavors. Plan B is meant to be taken immediately (within 1-2 days) after an accident. It prevents the egg from being fertilized. So, if you believe that life begins at conception, then, if used correctly and timely (I touch on education below), nothing has been conceived to abort.

      Next, you wonder how might a “girl/woman have an unplanned pregnancy?” Lack of education, my friend. It’s true that most girls/women know where babies come from, but they are uninformed on how to prevent them. I was a pregnant teenager in South Dakota. A good Christian girl that played sports, got A’s, watched movies, read books and did many “constructive” activities, if that means anything to you. Unfortunately, my sexual education in school consisted of my PE teacher saying, “Don’t have sex, don’t have sex, you’ll get an STD, you’ll get pregnant, you may die, don’t have sex.” It sure did me a lot of good. When abstinence is taught in schools, and communities have no education programs for sexually curious young people, girls get pregnant. And when perfect adults who’ve never made mistakes pass judgment on the uneducated decisions of young girls, abortions happen. Let’s get to the root of the problem, shall we? Education. Sure, let’s encourage abstinence because, you’re right, they aren’t ready for sexual intimacy. Most importantly, we must also teach them what to do and how to be safe if and when they decide to have sex.

      Introducing teenagers to birth-control/condoms does not mean you’re giving them a green light, although, they will ultimately do what they want anyway. What we are doing is handling a sensitive and oh-so-important situation with respect for them (treating them like the adults they think they are) and in an adult matter. Let’s be positive, healthy role models. They need to see adults talking about sex like adults, laying out all of their options and the consequences of those options.

      Contraception education isn’t a “band-aid.” It’s more like a vitamin.

    • invalid-0

      Have you even seen the show, you really have no idea what its about do you? And I am a tolerant person, but really, abstinence?
      Its just silly, truly it is. If you could feel some compassion for the poor girl who got knocked up, rather than the embryo, which according to the biological definition of life, is not alive, you might get farther. Contraception and safe sex are the only real options for teaching teens, because unless your Amish, or just have no concept of fun, abstinence ain’t for you.

    • invalid-0

      Maybe you should watch the show. Nikol never tells kids to blatantly go out there and have sex. The point of the show is to inform those who do, and even those who don’t. The Midwest Teen Sex Show is for kids who, maybe, got the sex talk, but it didn’t really hit home. It’s for the questions that teens may still have that they are uncomfortable to ask. It’s not about ‘going out there and getting laid,’ it’s about being informed. And, if you so support the abstinence movement, I hope you never have children, because they will be the first to go out there and do the dirty. I AM a teen/young adult and I’m a virgin, but what most people over the age of forty fail to grasp is the fact that there always will be teens who go out there and have sex, no matter what is taught in schools or what people like Nikol put on their web show. You should bless her soul because she is trying to keep kids away from having to have abortions.

    • invalid-0

      I am particularly interested in the line “loss of innocence.” Innocence is a pretty controvercial term in my eyes. Are you implying that once a couple is married and has sex that they are no longer “innocent?” If you have ever walked down a school hallway it should have become apparent that kids don’t act or talk innocent in the least. They talk about every dirty thing that even my own parents are too shy to talk about, and many of them are virgins. And personally, I connect innocence to the commiting of crimes, and I don’t know about you, but i don’t think it’s intelligent to claim that sex is a crime, especially when it is what brought you into existence. Maybe I’m wrong, and it is all opinions anyways, but I will never believe my teenage sexually active friends are no longer “innocent,” and i hope that if they ever believe that they have the slightest chance of being pregnant that they will use Plan B which is to be used before the sperm fertilizes the egg than for them to parent a child at so young an age, or to get an abortion.

    • invalid-0

      Well, I have to add my reply to this.
      1. Plan B, or emergency contraception does not cause an abortion. It, like the hormonal birth controls, prevents ovulation. If the woman has already ovulated, It is still probable that that pregnancy will go forth as unplanned, though like other hormonal methods the uterine lining will also be changed possible preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. So I have to ask, does this make the Pill an abortificant?

      2. Unplanned pregnancies happen. Its no mystery how a woman becomes pregnant, but we take precautions to lessen the chance of pregnancy when we are not ready for a baby. But they happen. The IUD was silently expelled, the woman was not informed she had to take the pill at the exact same time, the ring was expelled, the patch fell off, ect. Would you have a grown woman who is married, or in a similarly committed relationship not have sex with her partner?

      3. Sex happens, teenagers and adults all have urges and needs that need to be fulfilled. And I’ve never heard a sex educator tell anyone they should have sex whenever they want. I have heard them talk in detail about abstinence, about protection from STIs and pregnancy. But, as has happened for thousands of years, teens will have sex. Teens will find themselves pregnant unexpectedly. It does great harm to teach about abstinence Only, and not teaching how to reduce risks.

      4. Which good ol days would you like to return to? As a historian I have to ask? The days of the 50s? When political witch hunts for Communists took Place? Women were told their place was in the home? And Demonized for taking jobs from men? The 1800s? Where women had few rights to leave an abusive marriage? Couldn’t vote? Where women in many cases were chatel? Oh and if we go back much farther than the mid 1800’s where abortion was perfectly legal?

      5. Sex is going to happen, its part of human nature, its something that’s turned on at puberty. You can’t prevent it, you can’t stop it. Its a beautiful part of being human. Its time we embraced it in this country rather than deny it. Get good education, good information out there on sex and prevention of the consequences of sex. I commend most sex educators for their work, and hope that those educators giving out fear and misinformation don’t make a lasting impact.

    • invalid-0

      I love that you went and tried to get “Plan B”, Nikol. Sometimes it’s just nescessary but I hope I never have to go through that ordeal.

      Tommy, I’m sorry to say, I disagree with you on a lot of what you said. It’s one sided and a little (a lot) bigoted. Now, I may be only a “rebellious, misguided” teen, but, I think if you were a woman in that situation and had people judging you, you might understand the choices behind it a bit better. I’ve been on birth control for 3 years now, that way I’m ready when I feel like I’m ready. My friend, unfortunately, has not made the same choices as I have. I don’t judge her, but I do help her make these decisions. Some are difficult, and a few involved Planned Parenthood.

      Please, if you’re going to open your mouth, or start typing anything at all, look at both sides of an issue. If you’re a man, remember that it’s not your body. It’s the woman’s and her choice, so let her choose. If you’re a woman, don’t let anyone pressure you. Not the church, not the media, not your friends, not the father and definately not anyone who sneers at you and acts as though you were any less of a person for your choice. If I was, say, raped and unsure as to whether I’d get pregnant or not, I’d use “Plan B”. If I knew that my body was not healthy enough to support a child, I’d use “Plan B”.

      Lastly, I made the decision to at least wait until I reach the legal age of consent. Some “kids” choose to have sex the moment they feel like they met “the one”. Childhood is relative. Some people mature quickly, some don’t. You can only treat us like “kids” for so long before we choose to live for ourselves, and once we do, there’s not much that will change our minds.


      • invalid-0

        There’s one real answer to solving these problems. Close your legs.

    • invalid-0

      Plan B is not an abortion of any type. It prevents ovulation. It does not prevent implantation of a fertilized embryo. Since sperm live up to 5 days (yuck) inside the body, taking plan B will prevent you from ovulating while there is spermies swimming around inside you. If however, you have already ovulated and a sperm swum up in that little egg, your outta luck.

      Do the freakin’ research before you go acting like you know about what your talking about. Read the studies. Plan B does not prevent implantation.

      I’m so tired of people who can’t be bothered to freaking read having a gotsdamed opinion on everything.

    • invalid-0

      As a 16 year old “young adult” I have to say that some of your comments are very offensive.
      In my opinion, kids my age really need to be educated about sex and its consequences. It is becoming more of an epidemic, and if you are going to have the media glorify sex, then you need to educate the viewers what it is really about.
      As well as this, I have discovered that if an adult, or someone I just really don’t like has told me not to do something, the first thing I want to do, is do it. From personal experience, most people who are told to use protection are already sexually active, so in advising the use of protection, it is reducing an already potential risk.
      You mention that you should just tell kids to remain abstinent, but the fact is, is they are subjected to the message that sex is okay, and they are going to believe it. No matter how much you tell them not to have sex, they are still going to go out and do it. It is what we are hard-wired to do. Therefore it is better to inform them of how to be safe. Plus, when you talk about safety, it almost inevitably leads to the subject of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and that alone is enough to scare some people from having sex at an early age.
      As for the plan b, there ARE reasons to take it. It doesn’t just apply to consensual sex. Two of my friends have been raped, and thank god for plan b, because they would have been REALLY screwed up if they didn’t have it.
      Also, plan b does not necessarily kill an unborn baby, the purpose is to prevent a pregnancy.
      It says right on the front of the box, “reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex”. Furthermore, on the back it says “Do not use: If you are already pregnant (because it will not work)”.
      Also, I must say that your comment “Could you mini-kill one of your three little children, Nikol?” is a bit over the top. So, she is pro-choice, that’s her opinion. And guess what, when it came to her children, she CHOSE life.
      In conclusion, you need to get all your facts straight, and stop being such a “holier than thou prick”. It sounds like you haven’t experienced what it is like to be a teenager in a while. No matter how much you work with them, you wont truly know all the pressure and stress people like you put us under. Its people like Nikol, and programs like MTSS that help us be more wise, less stressed.

      sorry, I kind of ranted.

    • invalid-0

      This article is suppose to be informative. It is suppose to bring light to the tragic state of women’s right. A woman who actually needs the pill is going to have to go through hell to find it. The further south and more religious your neighborhood the harder the hunt for “Plan B” will be. You will be denied your right, your choice because some asshole behind the counter doesn’t feel its moral. Thats not his place ,not your place. No one wants to hear a speech when they are trying to keep their life from falling apart. And can it with the whole abstaining bit. It doesn’t work! I am a teenager I would know. I took the class and got the card. You can’t use scare tactics to curve human nature.And getting on birth control isn’t the loss of innocence it is called thinking ahead and being responsible. Everyone lives different lives so get off your pedal stool and get into the real world. Thanks.

    • invalid-0

      I have difficulty perceiving a fertilized egg as a “human” when I just killed a bug in my room with 1,000 times more cells than the egg.

    • invalid-0

      Tommy, I don’t really think you have any right to judge what women do. You (seemingly) aren’t a woman, and shall never have to carry or raise a child on your own, so I don’t see why you think that your opinion on the subject matters. Religious beliefs have nothing to do with practicing safe sex, and taking care of accidents early enough to prevent the NEED for abortion is much better for everyone involved, mom and non-existent child. Not everyone who has an accident is a godless baby killer. They may just be between a rock and a hard place, and are taking Plan B to prevent a child they don’t want or simply cannot take care of. It isn’t a form of abortion, but rather pregnancy prevention through tricking the body into believing that it is already carrying a child.
      Get your facts right, and stop judging people. You’ll do what you do best, whine. And they’ll do what they do best, ignore you.

  • invalid-0

    You also mention that there are a “whole slew of reasons a woman might find herself in need of a morning after pill” but I can’t think of one.

    Um, how about rape?

    • invalid-0

      Lucy and Tommy — I think your casual attitude towards rape and childbearing is astounding. But you’re welcome to your own opinions. If you are ever impregnated by a rapist, I certainly respect your choice to carry to term. And I hope you’d be mature enough to respect the decisions of other victims if they chose terminate their own pregnancies.

  • invalid-0

    Beyond that, I thought purchasing it would be as easy as buying smokes was back when I was sixteen.

    I see you have a long history of thinking for yourself. Some teenagers don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t have sex. It is because there are adults in their lives that help direct them to healthier pastimes and to interests that will enrich their future lives. You apparently live in an area where there is not much demand for the “mini-abortion”. That is a testament to the devoted attention of adults toward their teens. You may want to consider become one of those adults.

    • invalid-0

      “I see you have a long history of thinking for yourself.”

      you say that like its a bad thing. i know that you religious folks like to think of yourself as sheep for the lord or whatever it is, but many people out there value thinking for yourself.

      Maybe you think that your daughter should wait to have sex till marriage or wait till she’s 21 to have her first drink. I feel differently, i want her to have sex when she’s ready and to have her first drink with me, in the safety of her home, so she doesnt go insane in college after being repressed for years.

      there are many types of “family values” not just yours.

    • invalid-0

      Parenting…It took you long enough to bring up that topic. Actually, my friend has highly religious parents, they have brought her up her entire life to believe that she shouldnt smoke, shouldn’t drink, and shouldn’t have sex until she is married, and ironically enough these actions have led her to do two of those three actions. She has on occasion stolen drinks from her parents cabinets, and drinken those in access, and she is now sexually active. You speak of parenting like it is easy, but from my point of view parents lose either way. They are relaxed and allow their child to do what they want, or they are strict and their child decides to rebel against them. Personnally, i think education while still firmly asserting your own beliefs (while not forcing them on your child) would be the best step. If your child views your beliefs as an opressor then the child will rebel, make them view your beliefs as right, and they will be more apt to listen. And as for education, there are inevitably kids out there who won’t learn from your shining examples, and i believe its best that they know what to expect, as well as the consequences, and prevention methods.

    • invalid-0

      I’m 25, and have never smoked, used drugs, or drank more than half a glass of alcohol. I’m also still a virgin. I made those decisions for myself, because they feel right for me. My parents have always supported me in those things. I agree that parental support is important in anyone’s life.

      I’m also bisexual, agnostic, don’t believe in marriage, and I consider myself childfree by choice and will use EC/have an abortion if my birth control should ever ‘catastrophically fail’ when I choose to become sexually active. My parents also fully support me in these things. Did I mention I love my parents? :)

      Just offering some perspective – not only anti-choice people lead healthy lives or have loving, supporting parents, you know.

    • invalid-0

      Some teenagers don’t. My nieces (22 and 18) haven’t had sex, don’t smoke, and the younger one did have a bit of booze once.

      However, they know that if they drink, they call their aunt for a ride home and we’ll talk in the morning. I’ve also told them to carry a condom in their wallets, not because they’ll go out and shag any old fellow…but because they need to be smart if things escalate.

      For the record, my family is Pagan. Our faith emphasizes personal responsibility (“IF IT HARMS NONE”). The prohibitions are against rape, incest, pedophilia, cheating (the difference between cheating and polyamory is that polyamory is consented to by all parties), “oopsing” someone into marriage, etc. Sex is considered a natural, powerful gift from the Gods. Marriage is nice, but not a prerequisite. Part of the “IF IT HARMS NONE” means finding and using reliable contraception. Contraception’s had a long and glorious history. Ancient Egyptians used milk and crocodile excrement. Cervical caps were made of wax or paper. Condoms were first made of sheep gut. All manner of herbs were used as abortive agents, including Silphium, which was harvested to extinction! Our ancestors were no more or less chaste than we are today.

      Now, if “Plan A” (the condom, the cap) fails, then “Plan B” is the most ethical thing one can do by one’s partner. A child was not wanted or planned for, and this is no different than regular BCPs, just in higher doses. If your religion forbids such a thing, then no one is forcing you to take it. However, leave the rest of us alone. We will answer to our Deity in the end.

      If you cannot trust a woman with the CHOICE as to whether or not to prevent or continue a pregnancy, what in the deuce makes you think she should be trusted with a child?

  • invalid-0

    There is no denying that rape is a serious and grievous act and that the rapist should be punished. But, even in such a horrendous act a human being may be conceived. Why should this little one be punished, too, and have his/her life taken away? Cannot good come from evil? Who is to judge that this life is not worthy of being brought to term and given a chance to bring some light to the darkness?

    I would expect that the mother may not want to keep and raise this child, so would want to offer him/her up for adoption. You may have heard that “two wrongs do not make a right”. I believe that applies in this situation.

    • amanda-marcotte

      You seem to think that women don’t have feelings worth respecting.  What do you think we are?  Flowerpots made of flesh?


      Anyway, you’re lying.  Plan B works by preventing conception.  Lying to women about how it works in order to trick them into getting pregnant—by rapists, no less—is a gruesome thing to do.  I don’t lightly liken it to helping the rapist out with his task of dehumanizing his victim.

    • mellankelly1

      Who is to judge that this life is not worthy of being brought to term and given a chance to bring some light to the darkness?

      Who is to judge the woman who became pregnant as a result of rape for deciding to terminate that pregnancy?  Unless you have personally experienced pregnancy as a result of rape I do not believe that you are in any way capable of comprehending the horrific mental anguish associated with it.  It is  unconscionable that a person could even think that forcing a woman to carry such a pregnancy to term and give birth to her rapist child could "bring some light to the darkness".  Trust me, as a victim of a pregnancy which was the result of rape, terminating my pregnancy was the very best decision for myself and my family. 

      You may have heard that "two wrongs do not make a right". I believe that applies in this situation.

      The decision to terminate a pregnancy is most certainly not wrong (although this may be your opinion), therefore your use of this trite phrase is unwarranted. 

    • invalid-0

      Well, shit, Tommy. If you run with that idea, why not go back to the old Spanish law that stated that the rapist had to marry his victim? After all, the general idea on the guy is “you broke it, you buy it” and she’s “damaged goods” now.

      Now “Junior” has a Mommy and Daddy, and it’ll be a happily-ever-after household. The magic baby will bond them and turn them into good, loving people and parents…(And if you believe that, you’re completely nutters)

      The whole controversy regarding abortion is not about the KWUTE WIDDLE BAYBEEES. The “pro life” movement doesn’t give a rat’s rear what becomes of the kid AFTER they’re born! Millions of kids rot in foster care hell. Millions of children aren’t adopted because those who would have adopted invest in IVF and fertility drugs instead. The same politicians, activists, and judges who blockade Planned Parenthood also slash funds for food stamps, education, WIC programs, head-start, medical care, living-wage job training…in short, everything the new citizen will need. Worse are the ones who weep crocodile tears over a clump of cells but cheerfully support the death penalty and military misadventures abroad.

      Given that, I concluded a long time ago that it’s not about babies. It’s about punishing “bad” females who have sex and turning them into “good” wives/mommies whose sexuality is controlled by the church and their husbands. Turn that energy spent screaming at pharmacies and clinics towards the kids who are already born and suffering.

    • invalid-0

      Dear Tommy,

      Forgive me for again disagreeing with your point of view, but again, the choice belongs to the woman, not to society. If she chooses to see any potential pregnancy to term, that is her choice. If she chooses prevent any potential pregnancy, it is her choice. I’m assuming that you are of the male gender, Tommy, so please remember that it isn’t your womb that the potential life is growing. Two wrongs do may not make a right, but judging isn’t right either, and your views seem to do a lot of judging.

      And if good can come from evil, please explain the good Hitler, BTK, Jack The Ripper, Bible John, The Green River Killer and others like them brought forth.


  • invalid-0

    Tommy: certainly some women who become pregnant through sexual assault do choose to sustain their pregnancies and then parent or place a child up for adoption. And certainly, some women have had the experience that a child — more so than a pregnancy, which I’ll talk about in a sec — is something good to come out of something terrible.

    However, you may or many not be aware, for instance, of the fact that for sexual assault victims, pregnancy and delivery are often particularly difficult since they can be very triggering when it comes to body memories and other PTSD issues. If you have never been the victim of a sexual assault yourself, this may seem minor or like no big shakes, but if you read the words of those who have been victimized, one’d hope you’d privilege those words coming from a place of experience and pretty easily see what I am talking about.

    That is often the case even for women whose pregnancies are not a result of assault. As well, to have a birth, one must have a pregnancy, and for plenty of assaulted women, they not only do not want to remain pregnant — and suggesting one more thing should be forced on them via something which was forced already is pretty troublesome, especially coming from someone who has never been pregnant themselves and cannot become so — but cannot afford to be so (being raped doesn’t somehow make you magically financially capable of sustaining a pregnancy or raising a child), do not want another reminder of the trauma every waking minute of the day, and also do not want to bring a child into the world which came in part from a rapist.

    Women who choose to use EC or who choose to abort are often well aware of their capabilities and limitations and often make these choices based not only for their own best interest, but out of what is felt to be in a child’s best interest. And around here, rape or no rape, and certainly in the reproductive and women’s health community, you’re going to find that most of us feel that women are EXACTLY who is to judge what she wants to do with her own body and anything dependent upon it and what she feels is best for any children she may or may not bring into the world.

    And if you can’t trust a woman’s judgment when it comes to making choices about pregnancy, it seems pretty strange to suggest that she should be entrusted with all the choices and responsibilities involved in parenting.

  • scott-swenson


    Thanks for the fabulously written piece and taking us along on a very real world journey that many people face. Unfortunately, the stigmarati has chosen to ignore the reality of people’s lives in their comments, and once again lord their personal beliefs over others. Imagine what will happen if the proposed HHS regs actually promote such shame and stigma as a matter of governmental policy. Young Americans who appreciate the ability to have access to contraception in order to plan families should pay close attention this election.

    Thanks for all your fantastic educational work at the Midwest Teen Sex Show!

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    …the fact that some women also very much do not want to have to be tied or linked to their rapists in any way or have a child subjected to that person in any way, either. Let’s not forget that being a rapist doesn’t often relinquish a person’s parental rights.

    • invalid-0

      I have to seriously second Heather on everything she says.

      When my period was late after being assaulted, I felt so ill I couldn’t bring my eyes to focus on anything. In the end, I believe it was the stress of the assault itself that caused the late period, but I knew I could not bear the thought of bringing my rapist’s child into the world. I had always had the stance on abortion that I wanted it to be an available choice for women, but that I would never get one myself. That feeling of true terror at the thought of having my rapist’s child changed all of that in a matter of hours. On at least some level, I felt would have rather died than be responsible for bringing his child into the world. When the mental anguish is that extreme, I don’t know how anyone could reasonably deny a woman the right to make the choice to get EC or an abortion. All I can say is that if you haven’t been in the situation, you don’t know what it’s like and have no right to tell a woman that her decision was wrong if she truly believed she was acting in her own best interests.

      The issue of assault aside, I believe that it is even less fair to bring a child into the world when you know you cannot adequately provide for it (or yourself, during the pregnancy, thus putting a fetus at risk for all sorts of health problems), than it is to prevent it from coming into the world in the first place. Getting EC right away is one of the most responsible things a person can do if they are concerned about a potential pregnancy, because it prevents the pregnancy before it even starts and is a lot easier on the mother’s body than an abortion, which itself carries fewer risks of complications than full term pregnancy and childbirth.

      If we lived in a place where all women could know that they are guaranteed quality health care and adequate financial support to carry a pregnancy to term, I still don’t believe that arguments like Tommy’s would hold any water. Being pregnant is certainly not a walk in the park, no matter how good and available medical care is.

      The fact that Plan B is so hard to come by over the counter is definitely alarming, though I find the fact that a medical professional would turn down a woman seeking medical care because she was looking for EC even more alarming. I’d like to believe that experiences like this are an exception, not the norm, though I doubt that’s true.

      • invalid-0

        Unfortunately, a rapist is probably not overly concerned about his child. What an awful situation for you. Perhaps giving birth and bestowing a child on an infertile couple might have been therapeutic for you, a heroic act to help balance out the suffering in the world.

        Check out the Mayo Clinic website to see how the morning-after pill actually works.

  • invalid-0

    …thanks for showing up to share the trolls!

  • invalid-0

    I don’t buy it. You seem to think that pregnancy is a completely benign and unintrusive process that a woman can just ignore. The fact is, all of the hormonal swings cause physical changes and emotional changes. Women bloat, they become severly nauseous, some even become depressed. Some develop diabetes or high blood pressure that can last for years afterward. All of that is fine, as long as it’s something she freely chooses.

    As you can see from the empassioned debate on this site, the idea of life beginning at conception is not universally accepted. Many religious traditions, in fact, say that life does not begin until birth. I think it’s wrong to tell a woman whose own religious beliefs say otherwise that she must maintain a pregnancy she didn’t choose because your religious traditions demand it.

    Lastly, I don’t think the concept of “two wrongs make a right” apply. It’s three wrongs, if you will: the initial sexual assault, the pregnancy itself, and the knowledge that, despite what she may want, she is forbidden from taking control of her own reproduction.

  • invalid-0

    Sounds like she thought for herself, but just didn’t think the way you wanted her to think.

    • invalid-0

      The way I wanted her to think? No, the healthier way for her to think. Not smoking would be an obvious personal advantage to her.

  • invalid-0

    I did much the same thing that Nikol did for Planned Parenthood’s campaign to find out how available Plan B was for women in rural states. I was the operative in WV. I went all around WV and reported back to them and educated people in the meantime when I encountered total ignorance on Plan B. It was a frustrating and maddening job to say the least but a very important one. The place I found that was most understanding and non judgemental and knew all there was to know was Target. Not surprising the pharmacist was a young just out of college girl who like Nikol said in her blog post was almost proud of me for having the guts to go around and do such a thing. It is amazing how many will lie, judge or simply put you off just to put their morals on someone. Scott is right just think how horrible it will be if those regs get passed and make judgement a government thing. Good post and good on Scott, Heather C and the others for putting off the trolls!

  • invalid-0

    Amie is against name-calling!!

  • invalid-0

    Plan B, by the way, prevents any kind of embryonic life from being formed.

    “The active ingredients in morning-after pills are similar to those in birth control pills, except in higher doses. Some morning-after pills contain only one hormone, levonorgestrel (Plan B), and others contain two, progestin and estrogen. Progestin prevents the sperm from reaching the egg and keeps a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus (implantation). Estrogen stops the ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation) that can be fertilized by sperm.”

  • invalid-0

    Read through your post again. Amanda said:

    Plan B, by the way, prevents any kind of embryonic life from being formed

    morning-after pills contain only one hormone, levonorgestrel (Plan B), and others contain two, progestin and estrogen.

    Progestin prevents the sperm from reaching the egg and keeps a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus

    Plan B does not contain Progestin. There is no scientific evidence that Plan B (Levonorgestrel) prevents implantation.

    Amanda’s statement was 100% correct.

    Even if Plan B was a progestin/esrogen combo, the ovulation-suppression of the estrogen would imply that, given implantation’s natural 40%+ failure rate, even if progestin were 100% effective in preventing implantation, a woman taking such a pill drastically reduces her chance of losing a fertilized embryo.

  • invalid-0

    Take up your argument with Mayo Clinic. I’m just citing reputable sources that you might recognize.

  • invalid-0

    The definition of "troll" as some commenters mean to define it can be found here. But if you think that kind of "name-calling" is offensive thank you for bringing it up. I would say it’s a bit different from other kinds of name calling meant to derail the conversation but I do respect that you may feel differently. 

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    Rape is an intentional abuse, and one often largely about power and control. People seeking to control others are often delighted to have more ways to control or to have more individuals they can control. I certainly wouldn’t call that concern for a child, however they needn’t be concerned for the child to involve themselves with them where the law allows.

    You can look around the web alone and note plenty of cases where, in fact, rapists have indeed sought out custody in states where they have that right. As well, adoption requires the consent of BOTH parents, and rapists have blocked victims from placing children for adoption in the past, sometimes even blackmailing them by stating they will relinquish their parental rights if their victim drops charges.

    And while there are many other reasons a woman may seek to prevent (or terminate, when we’re talking about abortion rather than EC) a pregnancy, and many reasons a woman who has lived through rape will do so, not taking the chance that their rapist may try to become involved or be involved with their pregnancy or their child certainly is one. Even if we set aside concerns for a child, which are often paramount, if you have ever had to sit and have a chat or a legal battle with someone who sexually violated you or otherwise abused you, you surely know that this is something many people want to avoid.

    If you’ve additional interest in this issue, there was also an excellent piece on it right here at RH some months ago:

  • invalid-0

    My heroic act has been surviving what happened and learning to thrive in the world in spite, and because of what happened to me.

    I didn’t end up pregnant, and I’m eternal grateful for that. But some women aren’t as lucky as me, and I hope that, no matter what your personal beliefs about what you might do in that situation, you’d respect the decisions a woman makes. I know that carrying a child to term would have made it impossible for me to keep going to school on time (I was 17 at the time, at the same high school as my rapist), and that each and every day it was inside of me, I would have wanted to rip it out.

    If I had been able to get EC (and I’m not sure back then it was even available), I would have used it in a second to prevent that pain. If I had become pregnant, I would have terminated. And that would have been the right decision for me, and no one has any right to say otherwise.

  • invalid-0

    Do you have a problem with reading comprehension?

    The Mayo Clinic concurs with Amanda.

    The quote you presented cannot in any way be construed to mean that Plan B prevents implantation.

  • mellankelly1

     Perhaps giving birth and bestowing a child on an infertile couple might have been therapeutic for you, a heroic act to help balance out the suffering in the world.

    Foot-in-mouth disease:  An idea comes and it must be spoken—tact or guile yielding to childlike exuberanceInterestingly, this is a symptom of adult AD/HD… you may want to get that checked out.

    In all seriousness, I hope that you were just goading with that comment.

  • invalid-0

    others contain two, progestin and estrogen. Progestin prevents the sperm from reaching the egg and keeps a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus (implantation).

    Contains progestin — keeps a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

  • invalid-0

    Nikol, this is a great article that has received a shit ton of flack. When I needed Plan B, I stopped at my local Planned Parenthood the next day and told them I needed it. This was before it went OTC, so they told me I needed to make an appointment, the only available time being the following day. Lucky for me, I was free during that time and the pills worked. Now I keep an extra dose stocked (thank you, Free EC Day!) even though I use regular birth control AND condoms. (What’s up, paranoia as a result of abstinence only education!)

  • invalid-0

    How do the PREVEN® emergency contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy?
    PREVEN® can stop or delay ovulation (the release of an egg), it can stop sperm from fertilizing an egg if it was already released, and it can stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.”

    How Does Plan B® Work?
    Plan B® (levonorgestrel) may prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary, or it may prevent fertilization. It may also prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. ”

  • invalid-0

    Maybe I have AD/HD. Or maybe all of you of the abortion religion could use some therapy, since you can’t even think straight. Guilt can be a helpful thing, unless you ignore it.

  • invalid-0

    3. How does Plan B work?

    Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work.

  • mellankelly1

    Maybe I have AD/HD. Or maybe all of you of the abortion religion could use some therapy, since you can’t even think straight. Guilt can be a helpful thing, unless you ignore it.

    Apparently you’re of the mind that guilt is something that can be forced on a person simply because you find something to be icky.  Nope.  When no offense has been committed (like, say… having an opinion of ones own volition) guilt would be unwarranted.  Unhelpful guilt isn’t good unless you’re into that whole sadomasochism thing (I’m not judging… to each his or her own, right?).

  • invalid-0

    If it is all the same to you, Lucille, in the event of rape, I’ll be the judge of what “therapy” is best for me.

  • invalid-0

    Hi Nikol, I love MWTSS and this piece was great.
    I’m a young woman who needed emergency contraception a few years ago. I live on the West Coast and was over the age of 18 at the time, but I still had to call several pharmacies in the area before I could find a place that would help me. I tend to snap into “all-business” mode when I’m dealing with a crisis, so I didn’t feel ashamed at the time, but afterward I was pretty angry about being shrugged off when I needed info and help quickly.
    When I got to the pharmacy, a badass pharmacist named Fred (I won’t ever forget his name because he was so professional) explained everything clearly without talking down to me. After getting the run-around, this pharmacist simply doing his job was a bright spot in an otherwise very stressful situation.
    I think the best thing a woman can do is have EC around before she needs it, because you never know if you’re going to get Fred at the pharmacy or someone who won’t do their job. My mom actually bugs me about having some in my medicine cabinet “just in case”. Maybe teens should know they can ask their doctor about EC confidentially, so they can learn how to obtain some in advance. Teens could do this on a regular check-up or during a visit for something unrelated.

  • invalid-0

    No, I don’t think guilt can be forced on a person. But I do think a person can deny that they have guilt, even if they do.

  • invalid-0

    Thank you, Nikol, for a great piece. The commentors have spoken a lot about rape, but there is other situations where Plan B can be necessary and a way to access it vital. I have 2 children, and now that I am older, I have a medical condition where further children would have to be very carefully planned for and monitored or they could kill me or be born with significant disabilities. Because of this, we use (and I am married for those who care about that sort of thing) birth control. We have not had a failure yet, but I have Plan B (also obtained at Target) in my cupboard just in case. I very much want another child, but have no compunctions about taking care of my health first by waiting until I am ready. I am grateful for it, because I have had the frightening experience of painfully waiting to see if I would miscarry (which has happened a couple of time) and worry about having to make decisions I did not want to make. Since Plan B is contraception and not abortion, no matter what the naysayers may promote, it does not force me through the biologically traumatic experience of having to end a pregnancy.

    There are many other reasons for Plan B, but I know my experience makes me a great champion for its availability and accessibility.

  • invalid-0

    By definition, a fertilized egg is not an embryo until implantation.

  • invalid-0

    A question for the pro-life folks in this discussion: why aren’t you spending more time trying to get better health care for women who have children? According to a 2006 report from the government (, the US has one of the worst track records for infant mortality in the developed world. A large part of this is due to inadequate prenatal care.

    How can you justify spending time on an issue like emergency contraception when children are dying because of inadequate health care? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ensure that the children who are born are healthy?

  • invalid-0

    Lucille, did you ignore the study I posted about the effects of Levonorgestrel pre- and post-ovulation? Levonorgestrel was conjectured to prevent implantation, but there is no scientific evidence that this is the case

    Second, Amanda made a statement about Plan B, not Preven.

    Third, both of these pills actually reduce the chance that a woman will lose a fertilized egg. Drastically. Run the numbers yourself.

  • invalid-0

    Look another “may”. If you click on the study I linked to, you’ll find that the conjecture that Plan B worked by preventing implantation turned out to be unfounded. There is no scientific evidence that it does such a thing.

    By contrast, things like aerobics and coffee are well-known to decrease the chance of implantation and increase the risk of spontaneous abortion.

  • invalid-0

    Great article. Thanks for making the effort and braving the shame, Nikol.

    As for the anti-abortion commenters full of Righteous Indignation, I thank them for the hilarious irony they provide by protesting what Nikol explicit states as not-an-abortion-pill for being an abortion pill. A person would need to be pregnant before one aborted said pregnancy, and Plan B prevents exactly that.

  • invalid-0

    Bravo Nikol, this was a great piece.
    Right now, I am taking daily medication for a condition. I was made to sign a paper stating that I have no itention of getting pregnant and that I understand that if I do, the risk to the fetus would be severe. I am a parent already, and would love to have another child someday, when I am off this medication and it is safe to do so. That being said, if my husbands condom broke, the first thing I would do is go to the pharmacy and ask for Plan B. Accidents and mistakes happen to all of us.
    If my 12 year old came to me and said that she had sex the night before, the top of my to do list would include; calling the doctor, calling the police and getting to the pharmacy for Plan B.
    Thank you for being an advocate for all of us.

  • invalid-0

    Lucille, your cruelty toward living, breathing women is breathtaking. Bearing a rapist’s child and then surrendering it for adoption is a nightmare nobody but a fanatic like you would demand from a victim of sexual assault.

  • scott-swenson

    Lucy, Lucy, Lucy: With so many foster kids already awaiting adoption in the US, let alone many more globally, infertile couples wishing to adopt have more than enough opportunity. What does it say about the far-right that they believe a woman who has been raped should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term and cannot muster even one ounce of compassion for the woman. Adoption is an important option for any woman not prepared to raise a child and who would not choose abortion, and some rape victims may make that choice. But Lucy knows better even than a woman who has been raped what she should do and is prepared to take that choice — and every other choice — away from all Americans.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    I think that the Neanderthals like Tommy, Lucille, etc. should line up and adopt some of these babies whose lives they claim to cherish so much. It’s easy to blabber and pontificate when they haven’t walked in the shoes of someone who has had to make the heart-rending choice to end a pregnancy. I would challenge any of them to spend a day with someone in this situation. They can argue all they want about when the exact moment is that life begins, but science, not to mention the majority of us out there, agree that plan-B IS NOT an abortion since life technically does not begin until the fertilized zygote implants in the uterine lining. It’s time for them to cease forcing their belief on women out there who don’t share their religious or moral views.

  • invalid-0

    I always have conversations with my friends telling me just how difficult it is to get The Pill, an abortion, or the morning after pill – well, rural Massachusetts ain’t the ideal place for contraception. Fortunately, I’m a Lesbian… (I’ve never thought I’d say that once)

  • invalid-0

    The way I wanted her to think? No, the healthier way for her to think. Not smoking would be an obvious personal advantage to her.

    Smoking? I thought we were talking about Plan B. Are you implying that Plan B is like smoking with respect to health risks? Merely your opinion. Or do you have evidence to back it up?

  • invalid-0

    Yeah, so “therapeutic” to put oneself through the rigors of pregnancy for nine months, every day seeing the physical reminder of one’s sexual violation, then put oneself through the rigors of labor, just so some poor infertile people can cuddle a Pweshus Baybee(tm)!

    The smugness and insensitivity of your comment makes me nauseated.

  • invalid-0

    The statement was made that “a fertilized egg is not an embryo until implantation.” Whatever term one may wish to use, a fertilized egg is by its very nature a distinct entity with unique DNA — a new human being. If prevented from implantation, it dies. That is what is called an early abortion. Plan B manufacturer, Barr Labs, says in its instructions to users that this one of the three possible effects of the medication.

    Implantation doesn’t change the nature of the fertilized egg/embryo/fetus/baby, it merely changes the location. … just as birth changes the location.

  • invalid-0

    “Why I Love the Baby of the Man Who Raped Me”

    August 12, 2008 ( – When sixteen year-old Elizabeth Cameron found she was pregnant after being brutally gang raped, “practically everyone” in her life said she had every moral and legal right to kill her daughter by abortion. But Elizabeth defied the world’s wisdom and says, now that her daughter Phoebe is a toddler, that she could not imagine life without her.

    “Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby’s life just because of how she came to be,” she told the Daily Mail this weekend.

    The full story is at–I-love-baby.html

    Why Not Kill the Guilty Rapist Before the Innocent Child

    Rape and Incest Victims Don’t Want Abortion

    Rape Victim: My Child “No Different Than a Child Not Conceived in Rape”

  • invalid-0

    All I can say is thank, Nikol, and to all the other women who have posted their pro-choice views. It’s wonderful to hear that other sane people exist. Here in South Dakota, the prolifers have written another abortion ban. I feel like the floor is falling out from underneath me. Considering how close the last ban failed, this one, which isn’t as restrictive as that one (yet would still be the most restrictive in the nation) may indeed pass. I’m glad to know, that at least in other places, if not here, people will stand up for the rights of women.

  • invalid-0

    I’m glad to report that when I purchased Plan B (on two occasions – once for myself, and once for my roommate, who couldn’t afford it) I didn’t have any trouble at all. The pharmacist at my on-campus clinic simply rung me up for the medication after I asked for it and produced ID, and that was that. Each package cost me about $25.

    In my case, I had too much to drink and blacked out at a party. I woke up next to a man I only knew as an acquaintance. I didn’t even know whether or not we’d had sex. I’m pro-choice, but like most women, I don’t ever want to have an abortion if I can prevent it – so I did what I could. I firmly believe that taking Plan B was the most responsible thing I could have done at that point.

    I’m ashamed about drinking beyond my limit and getting myself into trouble by doing so. I am NOT ashamed about taking Plan B to prevent my mistake from hurting my family and myself further.

  • invalid-0

    Whatever term one may wish to use, a fertilized egg is by its very nature a distinct entity with unique DNA — a new human being.

    Really? How do you explain identical twins, then?

  • invalid-0

    Your article makes me actually afraid for my american and canadian cousins. I am british and we have almost zero problems getting the ‘morning-after-pill’ (or Plan B) because it is quite correctly seen here as contraception, nothing more.

    In fact it is culturally rude to pass judgement on another person’s sex life and choices here. You won’t find pro-life billboards in the UK but you will see posters for adoption/fostering agencies and abortion clinics. It’s all about the choice.

    I’ve taken the morning-after pill twice and had one abortion. All because of contraceptive failure. I’m over 30, married, I just never want kids. However one bit of inference exists – no doctor will stop with ‘we can’t sterilise you because you might change your mind’ comments. Hopefully both our countries will respect a woman’s right to have children, or not, in a time frame she decides.

    (And for the commentators who think rape can be ‘cured’ by having the offspring of the rapist. I’ve been the victim of such an attack and trust me, removing a woman’s right to choose after that kind of traumatic incident is more inhumane than any gas chamber of WW2)

  • invalid-0

    Hmm daily mail and life site news. Perhaps you’ll come up with the Enquirer and the Star next? In the end, all of your “examples” are of a choice made by the pregnant woman. Isn’t choice grand? They chose what was best for them and I’ll choose what’s best for me.

  • invalid-0

    Hi, Sarah. Is the medication accutane? I always found it amusing that to cover their precious butts, the FDA was willing to demand that women use birth control, but otherwise would place roadblocks in the way of access.

  • invalid-0

    To Amanda’s Fan Club:

    Amanda said, “Plan B prevents any kind of embryonic life from being formed.”
    Mayo Clinic said, “Plan B. . .prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.”
    DL said, “Amanda made a statement about Plan B, not Preven.”
    I say, “Why do you bring that up? We are talking about Plan B.”
    Definition of embryo says, “The term “embryo” is only used to refer to eukaryote organisms, otherwise known as multicellular organisms. Typically, people use the term specifically to refer to diploid eukaryotes, meaning that the embryo has a complete set of genetic material from two donors.”

    Here’s a little riddle for you—Who said this? “The more we say it, the more people get to believing it. We’re changing the norm. First they laugh and then they start repeating it.”

    So, DL, the answer to your question about why I didn’t check your link is this: There are so many links I couldn’t possibly know to which one you refer, AND, if your links play fast and loose with the facts as you do, they are useless.

    NOW FOR THE RIDDLE!!! Could it be a friend of yours? Could it be the m.o. of participants at a meeting called by The Global Justice Center, started as a project of Women’s Link Worldwide, which was founded by the pro-abortion advocacy group The Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that seeks to create an international human right to abortion on demand through litigation. Word has it GJC’s plan is to exploit ceasefire and peace talks to gain leverage in newly-formed governments. So much for getting input from women about what women around the world want and need! I guess you guys represent the new imperialism. Maybe if the whole world has a 30% (per woman) abortion rate, you will then feel justified. That’s quite a religion you have brewing.

    Amanda, I hope you don’t spend your whole life like this.

  • invalid-0

    From Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology textbook, defined here with respect to pregnancy loss:

    Early pregnancy loss is more precisely defined as preembryonic (conception through the first 5 weeks of pregnancy from the first day of the last menstrual period), embryonic (6 to 9 weeks gestation), or fetal (10 weeks until delivery).

    By this definition, Plan B does prevent any embryonic life from forming. And yes, I know you’re going to start screaming about the “arbitrariness” of the definition. However, I choose to accept the definition proposed by the very profession that does the most to care for embryos and fetuses.

  • invalid-0

    Your quote from the Mayo clinic:

    “Plan B. . .prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.”

    So what’s in the ellipsis?

    and others contain two, progestin and estrogen. Progestin prevents the sperm from reaching the egg and

    So apparently you don’t think the fact that they’re talking about a completely different drug is relevant to preserving the substance of the quote?

    What a transparent, blatant lie. By their fruits shall you know them, indeed.

    So, DL, the answer to your question about why I didn’t check your link is this: There are so many links I couldn’t possibly know to which one you refer, AND, if your links play fast and loose with the facts as you do, they are useless.

    If you missed it, here it is again.

    Now I challenge you to show a single fact I have “played fast and loose with”. Go ahead. I have already caught you in more than one blatant lie, so I don’t expect an honest response.

    NOW FOR THE RIDDLE!!! Could it be a friend of yours? Could it be the m.o. of participants at a meeting called by The Global Justice Center, started as a project of Women’s Link Worldwide, which was founded by the pro-abortion advocacy group The Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that seeks to create an international human right to abortion on demand through litigation

    It’s from the University of Sydney department of obstetrics and gynecology. Do you want another one?

    Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico

    In addition, peri- and post-ovulatory administration of LNG did not impair corpus luteum function or endometrial morphology.

    Do you have any studies that contradict them, or are you going to persist in your belief that the entire scientific community is conspiring against you? Perhaps you should avail yourself of an aluminum foil helmet; I hear they’re great for promoting abstinence in their wearers.

    I don’t want women to have abortions. I want them to have access to them should they need them, but mostly I want women to choose if and when they want to become pregnant. For some reason, no matter how much that gets pointed out, it just keeps bouncing off your skull.

    Now, have you come up with an explanation as to why you’d be against a pill that reduces a woman’s chance of losing a fertilized egg by an order of magnitude?

  • invalid-0

    For some rapists, rape is a way to sow their wild oats and have conrtol over a woman’s life. The rapist hates women and their freedom, and I bet there are a lot of rapists who are right wing nuts and want to use the violent act of rape to show women that they are not as free as they think. No woman should ever have to take a rapists fetus to term unless she wants to and is prepared to. There is a choice out there, and most women would choose not to bring a rapists anger growing in them to fruition. I know that I wouldn’t! Tommy, you should mind your own business, until you have a functioning uterus, and then you might just get a say. Otherwise, butt the heck OUT!

  • invalid-0

    “Come in quick, folks, all the emergency contraception is flying off the shelves this summer!”

    This is why you rock. Among other things.

    PS. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Plan B. I need an owners manual for my vagina. Keep on educating the planet, chica.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t have unique DNA. Am I still a human being?

    What about when two zygotes combine and form one “chimeric” individual? Which “person” ceased to be?

  • invalid-0

    If you have the forethought to buy it in advance you can buy Plan B from for fifty bucks with free standard shipping. If you think of it the very morning after, you can get overnight shipping for an extra thirty. It’s a high price to pay for avoiding assholes while you’re worrying about pregnancy, but it may be worth it.

  • invalid-0

    I was pleasantly surprised when I got Plan B a couple of times at the Walgreens in a middling town on the Minnesota side of the Minnesota/North Dakota border. The pharmacist looked at my ID, gave me instructions, and rang up my order. It’s sad when his professionalism at *doing his job* surprised me.

    I’d feed the trolls, but everyone else is doing such a nice job tearing into their nonsense and cruelty.

  • invalid-0

    Therefore a chimeric person must actually be multiple people, and should be given two of everything that non-chimerics get. They should be able to vote twice, be paid twice as much, and, if they are low-income, given twice as much welfare. They’ll also have to file 2 sets of income taxes, buy 2 airline tickets for each flight and pay more rent.

    Identical “twins” (and clones, ifwhen that happens) will also be seen for what they really are — a singular entity with two bodies! Only one birth certificate will be issued. If one half of the person commits a crime, the other half will go to prison with them. If one half runs for office, the other half’s sexual escapades and drug history will be used as scandal fodder. Oh, and (s)he will only be allowed to wed once, rather than exploiting the current legal loophole which allows a “pair” of twins to commit bigamy without fear of reprise.

    Clearly this definition of personhood is without flaw.

  • invalid-0

    Thank you,

    As a young adult who has spent the past year training to be a peer health adviser at her college, I truly appreciate MTSS and your attempts at teaching harm reduction.

    I also would like to applaud you for facing what you have in acquiring Plan B, it definitely makes me appreciate the pharmacist in my town, and the health services at my college.

    Of course, many people do place blame on those trying to be a bit more realistic. Kids have sex, kids drink, kids do drugs, saying its wrong or making believe it doesn’t exist (lalalalala)does not make it disappear. And normally i would encourage everyone to do their homework before throwing opinions, but the internet is never necessarily a wonderful, fact filled place and many people i have encountered have come against my research and the research of my colleagues at my school with their own information that is misleading, some brochures brought in even from high schools (thank you abstinence only education for that).

    Nikol, i am so glad that you are around to teach others about what is what, and you are definitely part of why i love educating my self so i am able to talk to other people my age about their bodies and their choices.

    Also, to all of those anti-choicers here, i will not say anything but to please, take all of your arguments, everything you are assuming and every question you may have to your local planned parenthood, or other such group. Talk to the other side, a bunch of us are more then willing to speak to you and show you what we know, and maybe both sides will learn something.

    And, like Brecht, i believe that theatre’s broadest function is to educate.

    You rock, Nikol!

  • invalid-0

    As a fellow Sconie, perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked by the rigamarole you had to go through to get Plan B, but I still am. I will definitely be passing this along, as well as performing my own experiment in obtaining EC when I visit the doctor this fall.

  • invalid-0

    Sometimes a selfless act is the best therapy. But, you are free to continue looking inward. We are all free to remain victims and wither under our self-pity. Constantly blaming others for our unhappiness. Yes, we are all absolutely free to do exactly that.

  • invalid-0

    Since American women are paralyzed with fear about breast cancer (1 in 8 slated for the dreaded diagnosis), I think it is safe to say that it is a health issue. Consequently, you can start taking your health into your hands. You may wish to begin by utilizing a simple internet search. Something like “breast cancer risks”. I haven’t personally done any studies, so I welcome you to seek your own evidence.

  • invalid-0

    …if I’m incorrect in my presumption, my apologies, but I’m guessing you haven’t used pregnancy and adoption as “therapy” for a rape yourself.

    If and when you ever have been raped — something I’d certainly never wish on anyone else, and not just because so many people who haven’t been like to tell us whose fault it is (usually our own), who made us victims (usually not the people who victimized us, amazingly), how rape survivors are just feeling sorry for ourselves in doing what we need to to heal, or how we should deal with rape while never having dealt with same — and should you become pregnant through a sexual abuse or assault, then by all means, you have the choice of making those actions your therapy or way of healing, and I sincerely doubt you’d find anyone you’re talking here with would, even if they disagreed of felt like they couldn’t deal with that themselves, who wasn’t supportive of that choice.

    Hopefully, what you won’t have the choice of doing is deciding for other women what we need, to survive, heal and for our whole lives, or to withhold what another woman feels is best for her based on what you think would be or is best for you.

    Sometimes, for the record, those of us who survive rape don’t need therapy. We just need to be able to move forward and survive and do what we can to enable ourselves to do that.

  • invalid-0

    Amie, have you forgotten your anti-name-calling principles?

    Anonymous, there are ways to avoid having to make the heartrending choice.

    Just like you may conveniently insist that life doesn’t begin until implantation, you may also conveniently insist that you had no choice but the heartrending choice of abortion.

    You make women sound stupid and weak. And, rather than trying to “force” my beliefs on you, I would encourage you to step out of the little feminist victim guilt club and start thinking for yourself.

  • invalid-0


    In addition to having your daughter stock up with Plan B, be sure to spend a minute or two teaching her how to avoid situations that could make her more vulnerable to being a crime victim. Also, give her a little guidance in selecting a worthy husband.

    Or maybe simply stocking up on Plan B is just easier.

  • invalid-0

    I just believe compassion lies in helping a woman DIFFERENTLY, without killing her child. (Women don’t really want to do that, unless they are sick or desperate, which cannot be remedied by killing their child.)

    You guys are constantly fussing about “choice”. That is such a joke. You don’t really believe in choice; you want to force your depraved, small-minded propaganda down the throats of our children where they go to school. That is NOT choice.

  • invalid-0

    Well, we could say the same.

    Why don’t you emergency contraception people spend more time encouraging young people to pursue healthy interests, like serving the poor around the world, or concentrating on their education to try to find energy alternatives, etc. rather than wiling away their years having risky sex with loser, flea-ridden promiscuity re-treads. (They might meet someone better.)

    We could also say, why does the “reproductive health” contingent spend so much energy getting funding for contraceptives and abortion for women who are plagued by malaria and obstetric fistula, and who may very well prefer, as a cultural matter, to have treatment for malaria and obstetric fistula?

    • invalid-0

      Dear Lucille,

      I find myself wondering if you have ever found yourself in a situation that would have you consider EC. Also, why don’t you come to my high school? It may come as a surprise to you, but we can find our sexuality and have what you would term “healthy” interests. Personally, I’m in Math League and The Gay Straight Alliance. Amazingly, I find time for romantic relationships with girls, as the curiosity struck me, and boys. Please consider both sides of an argument before arguing the side that suits you.


  • invalid-0

    What do you think the parents of abducted/tortured/killed children “need” to get on with their lives? Might they “need” to take a gun to the perpetrator? Should they have the “choice” to do that?

    You are arguing for the right not to seek revenge against the perpetrator, but against your own child.

    Sorry, I just don’t see how that helps anyone, or teaches the rapist a lesson, regardless of his “need” for domination.

    (Do you see? “Needs” can be quite varied and can be quite detrimental to others.)

  • invalid-0

    Keep your blinders on!

  • invalid-0

    You’re Black. Blinders, indeed!

  • invalid-0

    Well, some women here who have been in that position have tried to tell you how not continuing a pregnancy was in best alignment with their needs. It is obviously up to you whether or not you see or care to see how their choices helped them. I know speaking for myself that with a gang-rape I experienced at 12, had I become pregnant I would have in no way been aided or helped, in the short or long-term, by remaining pregnant. I feel pretty confident that, for myself, especially now seeing several decades behind me, sustaining a pregnancy through that assault, and with everything I was dealing with at the time, would have probably done me pretty catastrophic harm. If EC had been available then and I was denied it, no one would have been doing me or a kid (well, another kid: I was still largely a kid myself) any favors.

    Women are not usually looking to “teach a rapist a lesson” in the choices made about her own pregnancy. The idea that the choices women surviving rape make it terms of their own healing and survival are about how that survival will impact a rapist is just bizarre and really out-of-touch to me. In the aftermath of a rape, your primary mode of thought is generally not “How can I make him suffer,” but “How do I get through today to get to tomorrow?” And in considering what to do about a pregnancy through rape, on top of thinking of her own needs, a woman is going to weigh how all of her possible choices will or won’t also most benefit a child, and draw whatever conclusions she does based on her own unique circumstances.

    The trouble, Lucille, is that when you suggest terminating a pregnancy is akin to shooting someone, those of us who do not view abortion or contraception as taking a life (or those who might, but who recognize that opinions vary or that the issue is more complex) are just going to sit here and go “What?” Because you view abortion one way, while others do not share that view. We might be able to see that, indeed, you think that way, but if we don’t there’s really nowhere for any of us to go in discussions like these. We’ve hit a wall that, unless you can prove to many of us that women do not have a kind of whole and complete personhood which a fetus living inside and completely dependent upon that whole person’s body does, we’re both going to be standing on opposite sides of.

    But from a standpoint of supporting reproductive choice, that doesn’t really matter, because all someone supporting that is going to care about is if IF you feel however you feel, can YOU still make what choices feel best for you? If someone feels differently than you do, can THEY?

    How you, I or anyone else thinks about it is just only so relevant when any of us are speaking from a place where we feel that the only person qualified to make any of these choices, or to privilege any of these feelings is the individual woman — whose full personhood we don’t have to guess at or theorize about — who is or may become pregnant.

  • invalid-0

    I’ve only read a few of the comments, but quickly became annoyed and bored with their pseudo-introspect after the semantic debate began.

    Nikol, I wanted to thank you for this article.

    Years ago I lived in the Midwest, and at one point I DID need Plan B. I was a 21 year old who had a condom mishap at the fertile time of the month. Luckily I had been to my gyno a few months earlier and was able to swing by for Plan B.

    I live in Portland now, where the Planned Parenthoods will give you a free dose of Plan B to have on hand. I am obsessive about taking my BC pill at the same time every day, so I doubt I will need to use the back-up… but if I ever do need it, I am incredibly grateful for all those that have worked so hard for women to maintain control over their bodies.

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for the well written and informative read. It resonated with me a bit because I myself did have a mishap and after discussing it with my partner found myself going through the google pre-search and research phase at 3AM and then calling every pharmacy within driving distance the minute they opened. Luckily there was one in my town that was open at 7AM that said yes they had it, and strangely enough that they also only had one. I did feel a little odd as a man buying it since it obviously wasn’t for me unless I was a very convincing cross-dresser but my partner was somewhat distraught and didn’t feel up to going in herself. The girl at the counter called over a lady pharmacist when I asked for Plan B and after I pretty much just said “Oops” she calmly and politely gave me the rundown on how to use it and I was off and away with the only bit of reassurance available in a sixty mile radius. Aside from the worry that it would be gone before I got there it was actually a very straightforward experience compared to the hoops you had to navigate, especially considering it is a small conservative town in MN. I just thought I’d share that not everywhere is the same as what you had to go through, though from the sounds of it your experience is pretty much dependent on the whim of the pharmacist which is ludicrous. Anyways, lessons learned are 1.)There is no reason not to have a safe and legal backup plan pre-purchased if there is a possibility of it being unobtainable when really needed, and 2.)Never trust a condom.

  • invalid-0

    Ditto that. The Walgreens in Brainerd MN was no nonsense as well.

  • invalid-0

    Check this out! San Francisco has free and easy Plan B prescription to get over the huff and fuss of talking to doctors.
    Go to and on the homepage click on Plan B, complete your own prescription and print or fax it to your local pharmacy. Easy yes, simple yes and it works! But only in San Francisco.
    Get your own city or county to do it. Yes, they can.
    Have fun, Dr K

  • invalid-0

    As far as abortion goes, I’m torn. I support a woman’s right to choose, but I don’t think I would be able to choose abortion for myself. Then again, I’ve been fortunate to never be in that situation. Plan B is not abortion; I’ll leave the other comments to discuss that.

    I’m 16 years old, and I decided a couple of weeks ago to have sex with my boyfriend. I’m bringing this up because Lucille seems to be under the impression that girls must either be abstinent and wholesome and good, or whores who only have sex with pathetic losers. Let me set the record straight.

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year. We can talk about anything in a completely honest way. He is not using me for sex, since in our time of dating he has never pushed me further than I was completely comfortable in going. We can talk and disagree about politics, religion, and science (we’re both nerdy) and still have respect for each other. Having sex with him didn’t destroy any of that, or jeopardise it in any way. We’re both still looking forward to college and what we’ll do with our lives. We both want to help people in what we do. So your comment that girls must choose to focus on being helpful to the world or some kind of whore really offends me. Sexuality is not detrimental to teenagers, as long as they are exploring it for the right reasons with the right people.

    Since I live in California, which is much more open about teen sexuality, I know a lot of people my age who have had sex. Something I learned from them is that there is a difference between a woman who is a whore and a woman who is sexual. My friends are sexual people with their partners, but not whores.

  • invalid-0

    I’m just curious if you are implying that woman out there TRY to get raped? or purposefully choose a husband that will take up drinking and rape them? Horrifying incidences can occur anywhere. The fact that you sit by saying “make them less vulnerable” is disgusting in my view. Perfectly stong women can have terrifying instances occur and it is NOT THEIR FAULT.

    • invalid-0

      thats quite amazing.
      I agree.

  • invalid-0

    Right at the beginning so there is no name-calling. I am against abortion. However. I am lucky enough to have never been involved in any case of sexual assault, so i have no way of knowing how that would effect my thoughts. Lucille the only thing that i really wish you would consider, is that during pregnancy, excessive stress can effect the carried child. I believe that having that constant reminder of the assault would cause more stress than even normal pregnancies cause and that it can effect the childs health and developement. Are you saying that it is right to subject a child to being unhealthy when the entire reason behind this arguement is to say that the morning after pill helps prevent the pregnancy in the first place. I believe doctors are required to test you for pregnancy (in cases of rape and assault) before they administer this medication to you, so they are fully aware that no life is forming. Is this still abortion in your eyes?

  • invalid-0

    Again i will mention, HAVE YOU SEEN A HIGH SCHOOL? Yes there are kids who are “good and pure” but even many of those don’t focus on their school work 100% of the time. And helping the poor doesn’t take 100% of the time up either. I will admit that i’m not as religious as i used to be, but i used to work on all my homework, go to youthgroup, AND help out at the food pantry and still have time left over. What does a less “good and pure” person do with this spare time? I’m sure you’ll say something like sports, co-curricular activities, that sort of thing. But these arent every day. Young people WILL act out. It’s in their nature. And in their spare time, who knows what they’ll get up to. Please stop claiming that all teenagers should be perfect, devout, and kind. If you’ve met any, you’d realize how ridiculous that statement sounds.

  • invalid-0

    Lucille, There are those of us that are not victims, and not feeling guilty, that STILL feel as though you are forcing your beliefs on others. I have not seen a single woman on here that takes abortion lightly. I have seen however that you are very close minded to the thought of this being abortion. I believe, and correct me if i’m wrong, that in biology lessons we were told that without the fertilized egg implanting, it can not survive or grow. The principles of life as determined by science also makes it clear that this egg is not yet alive. Were this method used after the implantation occurs i would better understand your discontent, however at this point i see no life for you to fight to save. I would also like to add that your “name calling” accusations are getting old. If you are going to be technical, “stupid,” “weak,” “feminist,” and “victim” can also be called name calling, just as much as calling someone their given name is still name calling. Lets not let immaturity get in the way of an intelligent discussion

  • invalid-0

    THANK YOU. Finally someone who was able to get across what i was thinking. I agree with you 100%.

  • invalid-0

    We are all free to remain victims and wither under our self-pity.

    Wait… did you just imply that a woman who fails to just shake off her sexual assault is to blame for her own suffering?

  • invalid-0


    Thank you for writing such a fantastic article. I wasn’t aware of the difficulty involved in obtaining Plan B– it’s enlightening. You portrayed your search and the reactions of those around you in such a vivid way– such a realistic way and it’s disheartening to realize how many people won’t let others have a choice.

    Keep on educating– let people know of the choices they have; accidents happen and you should always be given the choice to correct a mistake.

  • invalid-0

    Lucy and Tommy if I were as cold-hearted and cruel as both of you, I would wish 1. that Lucy be raped and become pregnant and 2. Tommy be raped and so he can see how it feels to be violated. But I like to think I am, unlike you two, a compassionate person. So I won’t wish those things.

    Lucy the mind set of the raped woman is not the joy of bringing a new life into the world but the agonizing pain of feeling she is continuing the most horrific act a woman can experience. You would have her be tormented nine months longer after the actual act and then a lifetime after the results of the rape are here.

    No one is killing a baby. They are preventing the growth of something residing in them that was caused by pain and suffering.

    Tommy, the rape of your body is the worst violation possible. It feels like you are dying; helpless to defend yourself. You lose total control of everything including your mind. But you are lucky that no one will tell you you should keep a constant reminder around for the rest of your life because you cannot become pregnant.

    It saddens me to think there are so many rapists out there but it saddens me even more to think of the “pious” “self-righteous” and cruel individuals such as yourselves who would presume to dictate the choices made by women in these awful circumstances.

    Your insensitivity is amazing.

  • invalid-0

    Um, Lucille. Those agencies treat all of the above. The availability of contraception and ability for women to control when and how many kids they have go a long way towards decreasing maternal death and complications like hemorrhage or fistula.

    Now, about this tendency to classify women into virgins, mothers, or whores…Coming from a male? I would consider the fellow to be rigid, possibly misogynistic, and probably abusive or hostile to a woman that didn’t meet the exacting standards of virgin or mother.

    And coming out of someone who is ostensibly female, it’s quite disturbing. Human sexuality doesn’t fall so rigidly into those categories.

  • invalid-0

    Yes, her suffering and mental anquish would have been “heroic”. Seriously, could you be more cold? To imply that she was in the wrong here is just callous and awful. I literally wanted to scream upon reading your comment.

    Just because YOU have no scientific idea of what actually goes on in human development doesn’t mean you can actually IMPLY a rape victim should have an unwanted child that would cause her intense pain.

    Know what? Plan B isn’t abortion. No matter what you’re told or what your imaginary friend’s Big Book o’ Rules says. It’s not.

    The life of a full-grown, actually sentient woman matters more than a clump of cells. Period.

    If my tubal fails, that clump is gone.
    Oh, how unheroic of me not to sacrifice for my poor little clump of cells. *tear*

    As for adoption, there are already plenty of already born kids rotting in limbo. The infertile can adopt them… oh wait, most of them aren’t white infants. Sigh.

  • invalid-0

    I really enjoyed this. Mostly because it reflected my own experience obtaining Plan B. I, like you, thought it would be a similar experience to getting Sudafed, another behind-the-counter-without-prescription drug. However, unlike you, I did actually need the emergency contraceptive.

    I called my doctor in order to find out what pharmacy carried Plan B. When I got to a receptionist, I was told that it wasn’t important enough and I just needed to leave a message on the nurse’s line. (I was leaving for Canada that day and said in my early morning message to call me back asap.)

    Then I called a close friend of mine, who’d used Plan B before, and asked her where she went. She told me, but warned me to call ahead to make sure they had it. When I called the pharmacy, like yours, I was told that they only had one or two in stock and to hurry.

    At the store, the pharmacist was a little shocked when I asked for Plan B. I took most of in that she hadn’t seen my ID and most people tend to think I’m still in high school, when I’m actually 24. Though I definitely got the disapproving eye post-ID-checking when she handed me the meds.

    About 7 hours later, when I was in Canada, I got a call from my doctor… So at least they called back that day, if just a little too late as I’d tracked it down on my own.

    But it’s certainly easier to buy about any other drug. I know my mom’s gotten Prozac, Xanax, and Valium far easier than it was for me find Plan B. And all of those are highly addictive narcotics.

  • invalid-0

    Whoa, looking at the comments you seem to have unwittingly started a shitstorm.

    Its morality/levity(?) aside, tho, I am glad you wrote this. At 22 I’m finally able to tell my doctor I’m “sexually active”, but have been very confused over trying to find places to get tested for STDs once a month, where the heck you get plan B, etc. It almost makes me wish for the days when I didn’t care for sex.


  • invalid-0

    Thank you for the well-written article. It’s quite the eye-opener to see it’s actually still hard to get birth control in western countries. As the person from the UK stated above, it’s fortunately not too hard to get emergency contraceptives in my part of Europe. Although I must say, emergency contraceptives are still not the most well-known thing.

    I had a condom mishap a couple of years back. I went to a pharmacist (not the local one, because my mom knows her) and the lady at the counter was absolutely great. She sold me the pill and even gave me a glass of water. I just took it on the spot there, to not lose time. I never knew if I was actually at risk of pregnancy or not – it’s irrelevant, there was no way I’d take the chance. I was just about the start the last year of my studies…if I had been pregnant, I would certainly have aborted. The pill did give me rather severe bleeding and I did feel rather shitty for quite a few days.

    I think that might not be stressed enough in sex education – that it IS in fact heavy medication. I suspect it’s also slightly different than your Plan B, as it’s only one pill, not two. I paid 11 euro for it, and thought that was quite expensive. But comparing it to the USA, I see I got off lightly on the price.

    (And for the raving screaming people: it can happen to anyone. And believe it or not- some women do NOT want any children. It’s not some surpressed desire. Children do not (currently) fit into our lives.
    I didn’t have sex until my early twenties. I’m absolutely neurotic about always using condoms, but one slipped off anyway. Preaching abstinence and believing it will work – that’s just living in fantasy land.)

  • invalid-0

    really interesting post – but tommy’s post makes me ashamed to be a man! i am amazed though at the moralising over this – in britain (and the rest of northern europe) – the morning after pill is widely available and i can’t imagine a pharmacy ever refusing to supply it (although maybe i am just naive…)

  • invalid-0

    Lucille, do you seriously think that someone who has already been through hell should be obligated to be asked about her impending baby for 9 months, to risk losing her job, and have a constant reminder of her pain?

    Take your anti-choice Mayo Clinic, shove it, and get back to your episode of the 700 club.

  • invalid-0


    I pursue both of the healthy interests you suggest: serving the poor, and I’ve just graduated college and am working towards energy alternatives. I also have SEX, another healthy interest considering I am a fully grown adult. And I believe a crucial facet of serving the poor is providing comprehensive sex education for family planning. You know, overpopulation creates quite an energy demand. And right now, I am volunteering in South America, working with the ministry of health, and in every clinic I go, I see clearly displayed information describing every form of birth control imaginable. Too bad for you and your “every sperm is precious” friends :(

  • invalid-0

    I was 19, a week away from my 20th birthday and I had just moved in with my boyfriend (we’re now married and it’s 3 years later). One night the condom broke and I had yet to start taking birth control. We were terrified, it was the middle of the night and we immediately ran to the computer to figure out how we could get Plan B. (I am so thankful we both listened to Loveline while we were growing up and had learned about it, it was never mentioned in school.) Plan B’s site told us how to use it, what to expect and that it was available at pharmacies, planned parenthood and your local doctor. We checked out Planned Parenthood’s website and found out that they were closed the next day and it was three a.m., no chance of getting it from them. We eventually decided that we would try the local pharmacies the in the morning and, as a last resort, go to the ER to get it from the doctor’s.
    I was still on my parent’s medical insurance plan, so I really didn’t want them to get a letter about it. We woke up again around 7 am, having barely slept the night before. We immediately headed out to the local pharmacies. At the first pharmacy we went to I asked for Plan B, the response was a disgusted look and “You have to get that from a doctor. We don’t have that here.” I got the same response from the next three pharmacies I went to. Finally we gave up and headed to the ER.
    At this point it’s 10:30 in the morning and the stress was making me sick to my stomach which was just making me more stressed. The women in the ER that were making me fill out the paperwork were looking at me like I was a confused whore. When they brought me in to take my blood pressure my boyfriend came with me. The nurse paused in the middle of asking me questions, looked directly at my boyfriend and asked if he had ever hit me. We both replied in the negative, but she didn’t seem convinced. She seemed to think that I needed plan b because he had done something terrible to me.
    It was a weekend so none of the normal doctors were available. I got a guy right out of med school. He came in very nonchalant and kept asking me what I was there for, and I kept telling him Plan B, emergency contraceptive, fucking-baby-b-gone-aren’t-you-listening-to-me? Finally he decided that I needed to take a pregnancy test to make sure I wasn’t pregnant before he prescribed it to me. So he sent me across the hospital to get blood drawn. I get to the blood drawing area and the women behind the counter ask why he ordered a blood test since the results take more than 24 hours. They tell me he should have ordered a pee test, I need to ask him for a pee test, but they’ll draw my blood anyway. After drawing my blood I go back across the hospital and tell the lovely nurses behind the counter that he ordered the wrong test and I need to get a pee test. They commiserate me and yell at my doctor. My boyfriend and I are shaking like leaves at this point. The doctor brings us back into the room, writes out the paper work to order the pee test and sends me back. Then I do the pee test across the hospital. Go back to the waiting room, get called back in and I’m told that I am not pregnant.
    The doctor finally writes me the prescription and tells me I can pick it up at the hospital’s pharmacy down the street. We stop at a bank on the way there to grab money since we have no idea how much the Plan B is going to cost us. We get to the pharmacy and thankfully my parent’s medical plan didn’t force me to pay anything. We left, grabbed some fast food and I took my first pill at 1 in the afternoon, almost 12 hours after the condom had broken. We stayed up until 1 am that night watching Nip/Tuck season 1 so that I could take my second pill.
    Things were fine and dandy for about a week, then a couple days before my birthday I get a call from my mom. Telling me that I’m not pregnant, according to the blood work she was just sent and would I like to tell her why she was holding pregnancy test results? I gave her the quickest explanation possible, was told that she hadn’t mentioned the letter to my father or anyone else and that I could pick it up with my birthday presents in a few days.
    In conclusion, my experience trying to get Plan B was mortifying.

  • invalid-0

    If you do your research you’ll know that abortion happens worldwide, even in countries where it’s illegal. In countries where it’s illegal, it presents serious health risks or even kills the mother. And when the mother dies, so does your precious little embryo. Twice the death– is it really worth it?

    Making abortion legal in other countries doesn’t force women to get abortions, it simply means they aren’t going to get one from Dan Down The Street With His Pliers

    I’m not pro-abortion. I don’t think abortion is the right choice for everyone. I don’t think some people should, absolutely, in all situations, get an abortion. Were I to have an unplanned pregnancy (highly unlikely, given how meticulous I am about birth control– funny, I thought you said birth control causes abortions?) it’s not the choice I would make.

    But I do think that abortions should be safe, and the only way they’ll ever be remotely safe is if they’re legal.

  • invalid-0

    Am I the only one old enough to remember when the anti-choice people focused on the fetus with a heart beat, fingernails and could feel pain? Or when they were against abortion but would allow for it in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother? AFter EC came available all of a sudden their focus changed to the little baby you are destroying. It seems to me if their real concern was for the fetus they would welcome EC since it would mean there would not be any fetus with a heart beat who might feel pain! And if they were really worried about fertilized eggs and fetuses–why are they not supporting environmental laws which protect us from toxins which cause miscarriages–often of wanted pregnancies? Look at any history such as where there have been toxic dumps like in the Erin Brokovich movie(based on a true story). Miscarriages are natures way of showing that something is very wrong. Yet they continue to support Republicans who have the worst environmetnal records and who are in bed with the big corporations who don’t give a shit how many babies they kill!Dems are not perfect either but their record is much better–check the League for Conservation Voters to see politicians voting records. I am all for keeping the governmetn out of personal heatlh care decisions–and anyone who values freedom should do the same–otherwise why not go live in some dictatorship where they decide who gets to have or has to have children–like Hitler did when he banned abortion and BC for Ayran women but forced it on Jewish or “undesirable” women!

  • invalid-0

    You do realize Amanda never once replied to this? She’s not a cult leader because some people agreed with her.

  • invalid-0

    Infertility is God’s decision that they should not have children. It’s not the responsibility of assault victims to override God’s law and provide babies already damned by the sins of the father.

  • invalid-0

    @ Everyone here in the abortion debate-

    Seriously, did you read this article? Its not titled “how to have an abortion”. What if it was about condoms? Not too long ago you could not buy them at a lot of pharmacies, grocery stores, ect because of independant morals. Open your eyes- why dont you worry about the late term abortions, those babies can survive outside the womb. There are places in the world that kill babies after they are born because of fear for the mothers life, or because of sex selection. If you really think that taking Plan B is equal to abortion- what about mestration? Every time you have a period are you killing a child? You definatly are not giving your egg a chance at life- so how about we ban tampons. Find something more productive to do with your time, instead of scrutinizing a woman you know nothing about other than 3 hours of her life (which she writes about brilliantly).

  • invalid-0

    The Lucilles and Tommies aside, what’s really striking to me is the dearth of information about Plan B in the general public.

    I mean, Plan B was made available over the counter at least one year ago. This was big news – it was everywhere. And yet, clearly, we have doctors, nurses and pharmacists who have no clue.

    We’re feeling ashamed because they’re ignorant and incompetent? Unbelievable.

    For women living in metropolitan areas, you’ll have at least a Walgreens or CVS or Rite Aid, or some other commercial drug store in the area – they dispense and they better damn well do it without blinking an eye. For those living in areas where access might be a bit dicier, by all means, please use the internet and stock up on Plan B.

    I had to use it last spring and it was easy to use, the instructions were easy to understand and requesting it was like asking for aspirin. It is a tool of patriarchy to make us ashamed of our selves, our bodies, our sex and what we require to live the lives we want and need to live.

    The right to have the families we want is a basic human right and this alone should empower us to be brave, be unashamed, be bold and be strong.

  • invalid-0

    Great Article…

    Just a thought to the arguing commentators…All the time and effort spent arguing could be spent educating our young adults…

  • invalid-0

    that adoption is not the viable alternative to abortion that its cracked up to be. my parents fostered more than 100 children between 1999 and 2003. they also adopted 3 of those children, but every bit of it was a struggle. when u have a child and decide to place it up for adoption it doesn’t disappear into a magic world. he/she enters a system that is as flawed and doesn’t always work. the fact is many children age out of foster care without ever having a home of there own. i’m not saying all this to hype abortions or anything i just think that these facts should be considered as well.

    i hope that maybe some of you read this and think that you can help by becoming foster/adoptive parents and i would encourage you to seek more information. its probably one of the best ways you could change a child’s life. its not easy and if you believe my mother its even harder than having children of your own, but its worth it.

  • invalid-0

    I would just like to mention that I made general statements about the common actions among young adults, and that I do realize that there are people my age that do not go out and have sex. I also would like to point out that I don’t think that everyone… young or old, or anywhere in between… should just go around having sex with anyone. it is a very serious action to participate in, I just don’t think that you should tell young adults to flat out not have sex. I think it is more important to express the consequences.
    As is described by the original article, it is widely looked down upon to use contraceptives, and when necessary plan b. Which is very sad, because for a country that is supposed to be open minded about peoples beliefs, it seems very close minded. Plus, why should society in general make it so hard for people to be safe. It is a morning after pill, and yet it is nearly impossible to get it the morning after.
    My advice to those who are sexually active, and would hypothetically plan on using plan b if they were to have an “accident” is to get it now. That way it is available to you if you need it, and you don’t have to have the stress of not being able to get it in time.
    I got mine from planned parenthood when I got my birth control. (I live in CA if that makes a difference)

  • invalid-0

    My experience getting Plan B was quite the opposite, so it’s interesting to see that things are not so easy everywhere. I live in Austin, Texas, which is a pretty liberal city, so all I had to do was drive to the nearest Planned Parenthood, present ID, and pay $40. The lady behind the counter was extremely nice and helpful too, she made me feel very at ease about the whole thing. I’m never careless about birth control, but it’s REALLY nice to have Plan B readily available just incase; you never know when a condom might break.

  • invalid-0

    I am an 18 year old girl, and my boyfriend and I watch your show religiously. We think it’s hilarious. He sent me this article and was really surprised to find out I knew nothing about Plan B.

    I think it is horrifying that it was that difficult to find some. I am pro-life, but I am also pro MY life. It’s not fair that society punishes young women who make mistakes by preventing them from finding a way out before that mistake is alive and much bigger.

  • invalid-0

    Hey, just thought you’d like to know I cited (properly I promise) your article in a paper for my medical ethics class, and passed it along to all my friends as well. Your article is very well done!
    Inspired, as part of the paper, I went around to the major pharmacies in my town in Indiana and requested Plan B. At Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, and Walgreens I had no trouble: all had the product in stock and the staff was courteous and discrete. I went ahead and bought a pack, just in case. The shelf life is over 2 years, so well worth the “just in case” value.

  • invalid-0

    Funny, I cannot find a listing for the abortion religion in the Yellow Pages.

  • invalid-0

    After finding and reading this article today, I went to the Plan B website and found that they now provide a pharmacy locator by zip code. To test their results, I called a pharmacy that came up in my search (for zip 14228 – Amherst, NY) and verified by phone with Rite Aid that Plan B was in stock at $49.99.

    Thanks for the informative article on Plan B. It’s great that we are moving in the direction of more accessible options that accomodate realistic circumstances. Plan B is not a substitute for birth control/contraceptive use, but it is there as a backup. And at least it is now offered over the counter, despite the problems with its availability expressed in this article.