Monday, October 15, 2007

Just scan and bag, please!

Awhile ago I had to buy a pregnancy test from CVS. When I got to the counter and paid the clerk somberly told me that he hoped it turned out whatever way I wanted it to. I know that the guy meant well, but I can't help but wonder if he says the same thing to some guy purchasing cream for his penis. (Not that they sell "cream for penis" at CVS. Do they? I have no idea. But you know what I'm saying anyway.)

I cannot even begin to tell you how intensely invasive the clerk's well-intentioned remark felt to me. Suddenly there was this new individual who had actively alerted me to his knowledge of and his opinion of what was, to me, a deeply private act (after it involved my urine and my hormone levels; I was going to take the test in a bathroom with the door shut, not at a party or in the street). I didn't want his well-wishes; I want him to keep the silent compact between clerk and customer, that the customer's purchases are her private business.

I don't think it's any shocker for me to say that when it comes to reproduction women's private space is being slowly eroded and has been for awhile. In some states pharmacists whose are personally against Emergency Contraceptives (EC) are legally permitted to turn away women seeking the drug. In these cases, the state is saying to the woman, "here is another non-medical and not personally related to you opinion that trumps your decisions regarding your body, contraceptives, and reproduction." The ethics policy of the American Pharmacists Association requires pharmacists who will not provide women with EC to direct them to a pharmacist or pharmacy that will, but EC must be taken within 72 hours to be effective, so time is of the essence. Also, many woman cannot take time off work to drive all across town to different pharmacies that provide EC. In addition, it must be incredibly demoralizing and humiliating to have to face the pharmacist's implicit disapproval.

Maybe that's at least in part what this law is about. Let's call a spade a spade; this law is not about respecting a pharmacist's opinion; it's about preventing women from effectively using EC. If I think I might need EC, but know that I might have to be humiliated in a store (potentially in front of other customers) and then forced to drive across town to another store to get it (where I might be humiliating again...what's to prevent a pharmacist from "mistakenly" sending a woman to another store that "doesn't stock" EC) all within my ever shrinking lunch hour, maybe I will just give up, bury my head in the sand, and "hope for the best."

For an easier way to get EC, please check out Planned Parenthood here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I burst out laughing when I read your mention of a (theoretical) penis cream. I just pictured the SNL infomercial for "steve martin's penis beauty cream" remember? "begin rubbing in and in just minutes you'll see the difference" funny stuff.