This weekend I tried to buy Plan B over the counter at a Rite Aid and was denied.
Let me explain. It wasn’t for me, I have a Paraguard and my boyfriend had a vasectomy. Basically, the chance of me getting pregnant is so astronomically impossible that we’d be pimping the story out to every tabloid and we would aim for a reality show, which we would call The Second Coming.
What happened was the previous evening my boyfriend and I had had a robust discussion about contraception with a bunch of college kids and a high schooler. The kids soaked up the practical and safe sex info, but we were both a bit aghast when we found out that having Plan B close at hand was not discussed in high school sex ed (and neither were female condoms, by the way).
In a fit of doing the right thing for the youth of America we found ourselves at Rite Aid stocking up on condoms, lube (because that’s what the CDC recommends to use with condoms to reduce the risk of breakage, also not taught in sex ed!), and Plan B, a veritable safe sex kit for the hallway closet beside the extra toothbrushes and toilet paper. My boyfriend and I were giggling a little, shouting things like, “Got the magnum sized condoms, honey.” And, “Does that lube we like come in a gallon size?”
When it was our turn at the pharmacy window we headed up, laden with the goodies, and I asked, “Plan B, the generic please.”
“I need to see your ID.”
Well, we’d just come form the gym and I wasn’t driving so I had cash and a credit card, but no ID. And while I like to think that I look younger than my stated age, there is no way in hell I look like a 16 year old, you know what I mean?
I made my case. All 45 years.
Didn’t matter, no ID no Plan B.
I can imagine a multitude of scenarios where a woman, young or more mature, could arrive at a pharmacy counter needing Plan B but not have her ID in hand. And that one extra barrier (besides the $39 price, for the generic no less) might just be the difference between buying Plan B today and buying diapers in 9 months.
Plan B isn’t alcohol. Plan B isn’t cigarettes. There is no contraindication to using it. Not one. It’s safer than Tylenol. It’s safer than driving a car.
Requiring ID to buy Plan B is ludicrous and not required by every drug store. I’ve purchased Plan B at my work (although they know I’m a doctor, so probably okay with me not “proving” I’m over 16), but I confess to once buying it for myself in Las Vegas at a Walgreens, and no ID was required.
In the end, my boyfriend (ironically the person who would not be taking the Plan B) had ID so his house is stocked.
Adding barriers, like medically unsound age restrictions, affects many more people that you think and doesn’t protect anyone. If a 16 year girl is having sex and the condom breaks and she’s missed a bunch of pills, is she really going to wander down to the kitchen the next morning and ask for a ride to Rite Aid and oh, by the way, bring your ID mom because I need the morning after pill? Nope, she’ll probably go without and somehow that makes America safer for us all.