Daily Archives: November 17, 2006

Buying over-the-counter EC (Plan B)

I had an incredibly empowering experience yesterday: I bought EC over the counter within blocks from my house. I figure that since I’m sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant, I should have some EC on hand. Why wait for an emergency!

I live in Queens, New York City, and didn’t imagine there would be a problem. There wasn’t. It took two stops. The first pharmacy, a small family-owned pharmacy three blocks from my building, didn’t have it. But in the second pharmacy I tried, a Duane Reade just about eight blocks from my building, I was able to purchase it, and even had a lovely conversation with the pharmacist. I have decided now to do a survey of all pharmacies in my neighborhood. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I was required to show ID to demonstrate that I am at least 18 (she can’t possibly have thought that I wasn’t, but she seemed as if she was making it clear she was following the rules). And then I asked something I’d been wondering ever since selling EC over the counter became a possibility: “Would a man be able to buy this?” The pharmacist looked at me for a moment, puzzled, and then said “That’s a great question. You know, I’m sure soon we’ll be selling it to anyone. This is a huge improvement over what we’ve had in the past.”

I asked the question because it seems to me that if I were a guy having sex with women and not wanting to get anyone pregnant I’d want to know that I had something on hand in case a condom broke. I’d feel awful and would want to be able to offer my partner something right away.

So here is a challenge to any brave men out there who live in places where EC is being sold over the counter: Walk in to a pharmacy that stocks it and ask if you can buy some. It costs about $40. You might have to show ID. But try it. And then email me to let me know what happens. Or post your experience as a comment below.

For those who are not yet able to buy EC in their neighborhoods, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and the Tennessee Guerilla Women have both pointed out that individuals can buy up to three packets on Drugstore.com.

Male or female, if you’re sexually active and could create a pregnancy but don’t want to, I highly recommend buying a packet so you can do as Planned Parenthood recommends, and “back up your birth control.”


Filed under Gender, public discourse, sex, sex and health, sexuality