"So you haven't been raped?"

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Via Feministing, here's a blog entry from a monogomous but unmarried woman who was denied emergency contraception.

"The problem is that you have to meet the doctor's criteria before he'll dispense it to you."

"Criteria?" I question.

"Well," the nurse sounds decidedly nervous as though what he really wanted to do was hang up the phone completely, "Yes, his criteria. I mean…ummm…well, are you ok? Is there any, ummm….trauma?" he asks me.

My face changes expression and I hurry to explain, "No, no" I said, "No. I haven't been raped. This was consensual sex."

"Oh…" he trails off.

I wait expectantly.

"Well, ummm….*clears throat*…So you haven't been raped?" he asks again.

NEXT: Neanderthal Revisionism

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  1. So it’s okay for a married woman to *not* have a baby, but a single woman has to have one? Interesting twist on the “for the children” philosophy.

    Personally, I’ve always felt that since doctors are given exclusive government status as gatekeepers to medication that non-doctors CANNOT have without said gatekeeper’s permission, the doctors should be forbidden to add their own bullshit rules on top of that. Either make prescriptions based on health matters, not your own twisted morality, or lose your gatekeeper status.

  2. As obnoxious as the christian right can be, I suspect that this situation has much more to do with the ever-present threat of litigation, which is the product of the Left.

    In rape cases, I can see it being much more clear-cut. But if some broad has consensual sex, I can see a situation where she regrets taking the pill and sues the hospital.

    I feel sorry for doctors as much as teachers. They get shit-slammed on all sides.

  3. I suspect that this situation has much more to do with the ever-present threat of litigation, which is the product of the Left. In rape cases, I can see it being much more clear-cut. But if some broad has consensual sex, I can see a situation where she regrets taking the pill and sues the hospital.

    I think you’re giving too much credit to the doctors here, Nice Guy. If “fear of litigation” were their motivation, it would be harder for a married woman to get Plan B, for fear that her husband might be upset over the loss of his child or something. No, these are just prudes who disapprove of an unmarried woman (rather than “broad”) having sex.

    Besides, has there ever been a case in America where an adult woman who took the morning-after pill successfully sued for the loss of her baby?

  4. I don’t deny that possibility, Ms. Jennifer. However, I think there are many more doctors who are afraid of frivolous lawsuits than those enslaved by their stupid idealogies.

  5. I think there are many more doctors who are afraid of frivolous lawsuits than those enslaved by their stupid idealogies.

    Anecdotally, from what I’ve seen in medical professional behavior, they are far from immune to stupid ideologies. So much so, it’s a wonder they don’t get sued even more often.

  6. But if some broad has consensual sex, I can see a situation where she regrets taking the pill and sues the hospital.

    MNG, I can’t. What loss, exactly, would she be suing for? She isn’t pregnant and once she takes the contraception will never know if she would have become pregnant had she not taken it.

    Besides, has there ever been a case in America where an adult woman who took the morning-after pill successfully sued for the loss of her baby?

    Jennifer, again, what baby? But I think you’re clearly right that fear of litigation had absolutely nothing to do with this.

  7. Good point, Brian. I hadn’t thought of that; even with our messed-up legal system, there’s no way a woman can sue because “I might have hypothetically been pregnant but thanks to Plan B I’m definitely not.”

    By the way, what do y’all think of my idea that, so long as we have this government-enforced gatekeeper system in place, the gatekeepers can’t foist their own morality onto those who want to come through the gates? I know the proper libertarian solution is to get rid of the gatekeepers and let anybody who wants to buy and sell these drugs, but so long as the gatekeeper system is in effect, I don’t think the gatekeepers should be allowed to throw up additional obstacles whenever the whim strikes them.

  8. I read the original post, and it’s pretty clear that the doctors involved were not concerned about litigation. (sorry, but I can’t find the link anymore. It might be in the Feministing archives. F’ing is a good blog, by the way.) The doctors asked the blogger whether she was married and whether she had been raped. She answered “no” to both questions, at which point she was told she “wouldn’t meet the doctor’s requirements” to get emergency contraception. She was encouraged to come and try anyway, but she would have had to pay the $100 copay her insurance requires for emergency room visits for each one, and it was clear that she almost certainly would not have gotten EC anyway. Scary stuff for 2006.

    And yes, Jennifer, I do support your idea. Lawyers have something similar, in that if we take a case, we’re not allowed to fire our clients because they turn out to be guilty, nasty, or otherwise repulsive to us. I don’t see why doctors or pharmacists should be able to refuse treatment to those they disapprove of, either. I realize that lawyers don’t have to take cases in the first place, but it’s important to note that once we take ’em, we’re stuck. Thus, Jennifer’s idea is not entirely novel. There’s also the argument that a privilege granted from the state entitles the state to make some demands on the recipients, and being required to serve even people the recipient thinks are yucky seems to be a very reasonable one.

  9. Jennifer – I’m way late to this post, but I tend to think the opposite. If you don’t like your doctor because he’s a judgmental prude, find another doctor. That’s the market response.

    Of course, that’s made more difficult by insurance companies, HMO’s, PPO’s, etc. If we got rid of the third party payor system, the market would work a lot better.

    Anyway, I agree with your premise to an extent, but it seems to me to be a worse trade-off to force doctors to provide treatments they don’t like.

    Pharmacists are a similar issue. If they don’t want to provide you with birth control, you should go to someone else. Also, as in this case, publicize the incident and discourage others from seeing that pharmacist or physician.

    Anyway, I personally disagree with your viewpoint, but it is certainly not a bad idea.

  10. “As obnoxious as the christian right can be, I suspect that this situation has much more to do with the ever-present threat of litigation, which is the product of the Left.”

    Uh, yeah, when I read about the nurse saying the doctor wouldn’t prescribe the pill for single women who hadn’t been raped because “He’s kind of old fashioned,” I immediately realized that the doctor was concerned about lawsuits. It totally had nothing to do with being a CONSERATIVE, RIGHT WING, PATRIARCHAL, SEXIST, CHRISTIAN RIGHT ASSHOLE. Totally the liberals’ fault.

    Kid Handsome,

    Read the post. Read the part where she describes calling through every doctor, hospital, and medical center in the phone book, without being able to find a single one who would prescribe her the treatment she needed.

    La la la la la, the wonderful Market will solve everything.

  11. “Jennifer – I’m way late to this post, but I tend to think the opposite. If you don’t like your doctor because he’s a judgmental prude, find another doctor. That’s the market response.”

    I disagree; while I’m typically a proponent of “just let the market handle it” approaches, the fact here is that, via the prescription regime, doctors and pharmacists have become de facto agents of the state—they are the only ones authorized by law to dispense these “restricted” drugs. As such, allowing them to act as discriminatory wackjobs and state agents at the same time is wrong.

    “Of course, that’s made more difficult by insurance companies, HMO’s, PPO’s, etc. If we got rid of the third party payor system, the market would work a lot better.”

    True, but that’s not the major problem here. The major problem is that the State has made it so that only certain people who have been approved by a certain accreditation organization can give you permission to put certain substances into your OWN BODY. HMO’s suck, but get rid of them, and you’d still have this problem.

    “Anyway, I agree with your premise to an extent, but it seems to me to be a worse trade-off to force doctors to provide treatments they don’t like.”

    It’s got nothing to do with “like” or “dislike”, Kid. It’s got to do with simply requiring that these agents of the state base their decisions on science, and not on ideology. If this were a privatized industry, well, then, fuck it…let the idiots go to idiot doctors and the sensible folk go to sensible doctors. But since the state, and by extension the guys with guns, are involved here, I don’t think you can just “leave it up to the doctor”…because he’s more than a doctor, he’s an agent of the state.

  12. joe

    In case you haven’t noticed, it is not as though we have anything resembling a free market when it comes to health care.

    If we did she would have been able to get it over the counter now.

    She might have had to drive a few miles and she might have had to pay for it out of her own pocket but she would have had it.

    But I agree, anyone seeing any motives in the doctors other than puritanism is probably wrong.

  13. Karen,

    There’s also the argument that a privilege granted from the state entitles the state to make some demands on the recipients, and being required to serve even people the recipient thinks are yucky seems to be a very reasonable one.”

    Even though it’s a footnote on your argument, I think it’s the most important facet of this issue. Hell, we have anti-discrimination laws that reach far, far into the private sector, even to actors that have no connection with the state. While I feel that these laws are no longer necessary, it does seem a little ridiculous that we can force Joe Privatesector to be colorblind, but we can’t force Jim Physician, who is, as I’ve said ten times in the past ten minutes, a de facto agent of the state, to not discriminate based on his old-timey traditionalist moral sense.

  14. Isn’t this whole debate moot, since the FDA approved selling Plan B over the counter in August? (To anyone 18 or older, of course.)

  15. Joe, maybe the doctor is against murdering babies? (Well, unless mom was raped, then its ok…can’t give him too much credit in this area)

    I think I have a right to kill my wife if I find her in bed with another man. But some asshole religious nuts may disagree with my right to choose. Get the point? Your rights vs. rights of others, etc. I know its easier to assume you are right and everyone else is a moron, but there is a reason this is an ISSUE.

    Isn’t “emergency contraception” running out to Walgreens before getting laid? “Early chemical abortion” seems more appropriate in this case.

    standard disclaimer: I’m pro-abortion.

  16. I don’t think fear of litigation is the motive for those questions. In fact, I think asking questions like that could increase the risk of lawsuits. I would think in order to limit liability, you would limit discretion. To limit discretion, you limit questions, because questions lead to (you guessed it) answers. As far as lawsuit aversion is concerned, I would have a blanket policy…….. if you are medically able to have it, you can have it, no other questions asked.

    Which also leads me to agree with Jennifer’s point about gatekeepers.

  17. Joe, maybe the doctor is against murdering babies? (Well, unless mom was raped, then its ok…can’t give him too much credit in this area)

    I think I have a right to kill my wife if I find her in bed with another man. But some asshole religious nuts may disagree with my right to choose. Get the point? Your rights vs. rights of others, etc. I know its easier to assume you are right and everyone else is a moron, but there is a reason this is an ISSUE.

    Isn’t “emergency contraception” running out to Walgreens before getting laid? “Early chemical abortion” seems more appropriate in this case.

    standard disclaimer: I’m pro-abortion.

  18. Slacker, Plan B is not and cannot be considered an early term chemical abortion unless the birth control pill is too. They are literally the SAME drug. See The Mighty Wiki.

  19. Since the link is evidently just text that looks like a link, the address should have been:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levonorgestrel

  20. How completely appalling that she had to go through such an invasive process, repeatedly, yet was ultimately denied a legally available drug anyway. When it was over she probably kinda felt raped.

    I agree with Jennifer & like the way Evan! put it — these doctors are agents of the state and should base their medical judgements on science –and within the parameters of the law as well, I’d like to add. The law says it’s ok to dispense!

    Interesting that the not-gatekeepers (nurses)were sympathetic to her. I believe just being in the role of gatekeeper probably contributes to doctor’s willingness to impose their moral judgements on people, especially given that their function as agents of the state is not really an explicit feature of the concept of *doctor*.

    Cab:

    In fact, I think asking questions like that could increase the risk of lawsuits.

    Yeah, good point.

  21. doctors and pharmacists have become de facto agents of the state—they are the only ones authorized by law to dispense these “restricted” drugs. As such, allowing them to act as discriminatory wackjobs and state agents at the same time is wrong.

    A far more succinct way of expressing the point I was trying to make.

    Isn’t “emergency contraception” running out to Walgreens before getting laid?

    Did you read the article? They used a condom, but it broke. And if dispensing Plan B goes against the doctor’s religious principles, let him get another job where he isn’t an authority figure who can inflict those principles upon those who don’t share them. (I don’t care if it hurts his feelings when he must dispense antibiotics to people who caught the clap, either.)

  22. doctors and pharmacists have become de facto agents of the state—they are the only ones authorized by law to dispense these “restricted” drugs. As such, allowing them to act as discriminatory wackjobs and state agents at the same time is wrong.

    A far more succinct way of expressing the point I was trying to make.

    Isn’t “emergency contraception” running out to Walgreens before getting laid?

    Did you read the article? They used a condom, but it broke. And if dispensing Plan B goes against the doctor’s religious principles, let him get another job where he isn’t an authority figure who can inflict those principles upon those who don’t share them. (I don’t care if it hurts his feelings when he must dispense antibiotics to people who caught the clap, either.)

  23. doctors and pharmacists have become de facto agents of the state—they are the only ones authorized by law to dispense these “restricted” drugs. As such, allowing them to act as discriminatory wackjobs and state agents at the same time is wrong.

    A far more succinct way of expressing the point I was trying to make.

    Isn’t “emergency contraception” running out to Walgreens before getting laid?

    Did you read the article? They used a condom, but it broke. And if dispensing Plan B goes against the doctor’s religious principles, let him get another job where he isn’t an authority figure who can inflict those principles upon those who don’t share them. (I don’t care if it hurts his feelings when he must dispense antibiotics to people who caught the clap, either.)

  24. I think I have a right to kill my wife if I find her in bed with another man.

    You’re making a bad joke, right? Tell me you’re joking.

  25. bigbigslacker

    If you RTFA you’ll find the condom broke. She’d already made her run to Walgreen’s.

    ellipsis (the former kmw)

    If you RTFA you’ll find that Plan B is not yet available OTC. Or, at least, not at the time in question. It had been approved for OTC, but was not yet in stores.

  26. Lord Duppy said: “Slacker, Plan B is not and cannot be considered an early term chemical abortion unless the birth control pill is too. They are literally the SAME drug.”
    The question isn’t whether it is the same drug but how it is used. Use as a birth control pill results in blocking ovulation. Use as Plan B, if fertilization of the egg has already occurred, prevents implantation of the fertilized egg; which could definitely be considered a chemical abortion.
    http://www.fda.gov/CDER/drug/infopage/planB/planBQandA.htm

  27. How about legislation that says you can’t offer Plan-B at all if you aren’t open 24×7? Wouldn’t that have caused the Planned Parenthood to be open when it was needed?

  28. If she wasn’t raped, she should be held responsible for what she did. It’s not that bad really–men do it every time they have sex.

    When children get pregnant, well, children shouldn’t be allowed to make such commitments and, hence, shouldn’t be held responsible. …and rape victims, by definition, never make any such commitment.

    The rest of us should be held responsible for what we do. …really, it’s the flip side of freedom. We should be free to do that for which we take responsibility and we should be held responsible for what we’re free to do.

  29. “We should be free to do that for which we take responsibility and we should be held responsible for what we’re free to do.”

    No one ever said, and no one has the authority to say, that getting pregnant and carrying to term is a woman’s just deserts for having sex. That’s like saying you shouldn’t be allowed to use chemotherapy because, well, you smoked. So sorry, but you deserve it.

    I can grant some merit to arguments based on the supposed rights of the fetus, even though I do not personally believe a very young fetus has any rights. But equating pregnancy with “taking responsibility” for sex just doesn’t fly on its own.

    Proabortion: thanks for the correction. I suppose, in light of that, one might call Plan B a chemical abortion, but I think its still debatable. Implantation has not occurred yet and so, medically speaking, there is no pregnancy.

  30. “Use as Plan B, if fertilization of the egg has already occurred, prevents implantation of the fertilized egg; which could definitely be considered a chemical abortion.”

    Go here for an explanation:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/05/plan_b_again.php

  31. No one ever said, and no one has the authority to say, that getting pregnant and carrying to term is a woman’s just deserts for having sex.

    No one has the authority to project that obligation on to a grown woman–she takes it upon herself by engaging in activity that she well knows can lead to the creation of a person. …and, if she engages in that activity, she takes that obligation on herself. She alone has that authority.

    That’s like saying you shouldn’t be allowed to use chemotherapy because, well, you smoked. So sorry, but you deserve it.

    There is no analogy to when one person is responsible for the very creation of another person. …and, presumably, we’re not talking about saving the life of the mother here. …still, if the chemo patient was pregnant, that would complicate matters at the very least, wouldn’t it?

    But equating pregnancy with “taking responsibility” for sex just doesn’t fly on its own.

    But it does. Like I said–men do it every time. I consent to finance my share of raising a child for eighteen years every time I have sex–every man does. Get used to it.

  32. I believe just being in the role of gatekeeper probably contributes to doctor’s willingness to impose their moral judgements on people, especially given that their function as agents of the state is not really an explicit feature of the concept of *doctor*.

    Yes, indeed. I’m beginning to dislike doctors almost as much as I dislike lawyers. These days, most of them seem to take the attitude that their patients are incompetents in need of a nanny, rather than customers that are paying good money to be served.

  33. I lost my comment wherein I tempered my position by suggesting that Emergency Rooms – the place of last resort – should be required to provide the Plan B. Pill.

    I also noted that I’m often skeptical of people who claim they “tried everything,” as it’s not generally true in my experience. I read the post and my understanding was that she found places that would get her the pills, just not places that were open on Saturdays (Planned Parenthood), or places that were especially close.

    I still don’t believe that Doctors should be forced to act against their conscience even if I believe that a particular viewpoint is wrong. I don’t really see much merit in a position that compels an individual to act in a way that shocks the conscience. I argue that the system needs to change, which – as the drug will soon be available OTC – is actually the case here.

    Also, is anyone else having consistent problems posting comments?

  34. If she wasn’t raped, she should be held responsible for what she did.

    And in this context, “held responsible for what she did” means “if that egg got fertilized after the condom broke, she should suffer the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy even though there exist safe and effective means of avoiding this.” Likewise, a guy who gets a case of poison ivy should not be sold anti-itching cream, because he needs to be held responsible for the consequences of hiking in the woods. “Responsibility” means “do not avail yourself of modern medical technology capable of solving a problem you have.”

  35. Human beings don’t create their offspring; human beings beget their offspring.

    Not that this distinction figures yet, but as this thread approaches viability, it may, so there it is.

  36. I read the post and my understanding was that she found places that would get her the pills, just not places that were open on Saturdays (Planned Parenthood)

    Translation: she could find places that would get her the pills, but not during the brief time frame when the pills would be effective.

  37. Night scopes can be an effective means of getting rid of unwanted bill collectors–that doesn’t mean shooting them shouldn’t be a crime. The painful reaction caused by exposure to poision ivy doesn’t have the same rights as a human being, so I don’t think that analogy fits either. …but yes, a man or woman who creates a child after a condom broke is still responsible for what they did. Driving down the street, I may not intend to run over a pedestrian, but if I do… I am responsible.

  38. I don’t think that analogy fits either. …but yes, a man or woman who creates a child after a condom broke is still responsible for what they did

    First of all, we don’t even know if they did create a child. Secondly, she tried to “take responsibility” via acquiring perfectly legal medication, but a doctor withheld it from her based on his own prejudice.

    Ken, why don’t you just admit that you are using “take responsibility” as code for “the woman should have to deal with nine months of pregnancy followed by the agony of childbirth, and if she wants to avoid this she should either get sterilization surgery (assuming she can find a doctor willing to do it) or simply refrain from having sex until after menopause?”

  39. Does anyone second the following comments?

    I distrust the medical establishment entirely. Here’s why. My college roommate was the most academically accomplished person I knew: top 3% MCAT and engineering and pre-med dean’s list. He was denied admission to his home state’s slightly above average medical school because he did not “seem enthusiastic enough” in his interview. (He was accepted two years later.)

    Now it seems to me that all the complaints about there not being enough doctors could be satisfied by allowing people who aren’t Rhodes Scholars to get in the game. I can’t help but think that what the board was reacting to with the roommate was him being extremely laid back and personable. As a former scientific researcher, I’ve seen the effects of certain professions being dominated by the blowhards and uptights. When it’s state sanctioned, it’s exponentionally worse.

  40. a man or woman who creates a child after a condom broke is still responsible for what they did.

    I agree. For example, if a woman gets pregnant and wants an abortion she should take responsibility for paying for it and shouldn’t expect me to contribute.

    Wait, that’s not what you meant?

  41. why subject doctors to government control over this

    Because doctors are given government authority to subject control over others.

    Well, no offense, but couldn’t she have found this information out before it was an emergency?

    Actually, that is a pretty offensive question. Here’s a woman in a monogamous relationship and using birth control, but when something bad happens let’s assume she’s irresponsible for not having already done research to find out exactly what hoops she’d have to jump through to get help. I suppose the theory here is “the healthy and sane way to go through life is to assume the worst possible outcome for anything you do, and make sure you’ve fully researched the alternatives beforehand.”

  42. I meant to say “This is the part of the system that isn’t broken.”

  43. Kid, what did you think of Evan’s argument that doctors and pharmacists are basically agents of the state, and state agents shouldn’t have the power to impose their own prejudices on others?

  44. Something about this BB’s post is odd…

    She states she can’t call places that are over 100 miles are out of her reach…but most parts of Ohio seem to be within 100 miles of a major city (or at least when I look at Googlemaps and until someone who actually knows something about Ohio can correct my musings).
    Maybe things really are different in things in Ohio than in Shrevepoet, but I know one thing, that people come from 100’s of miles to get even primary medical care (but she doesn’t even mention where she lives, so we’ll never know).
    And I definitly know this, even our Pediatric service gives out contraception like it’s candy…

    And another thing, I’ll admit to being almost completely ignorant about radical feminism, but shouldn’t a radical feminsit be okay with taking a chemical abortifacient like RU-486? It’s leagal in all 50 states and I’m sure Planned Parenthood has it, and I’m assuming she’s within 49 days of her last menstral cycle, so why hasn’t she mentioned that?

    Questions abound…

  45. Also, there was something about that blog that seemed contrived to me. The most obvious being her unwillingness to travel more than 100 miles. There’s places in rural Ohio where 100 miles won’t take you anywhere, but 200 miles will get you to several large cities. Colombus, with the college, seems like a sure shot to me. She had the entire weekend to do this.

    Of course doctors are agents of the state. If they aren’t, literally no one in the private sector is.

  46. Also, there was something about that blog that seemed contrived to me. The most obvious being her unwillingness to travel more than 100 miles. There’s places in rural Ohio where 100 miles won’t take you anywhere, but 200 miles will get you to several large cities. Colombus, with the college, seems like a sure shot to me. She had the entire weekend to do this.

    Of course doctors are agents of the state. If they aren’t, literally no one in the private sector is.

  47. Well, Frank beat me to it. And then I double posted like an ass. Awesome.

  48. That still fails to address the point that she had according to my understanding of the timeline – just about all day and into the night on Monday.

    Also, is it really an “offensive question?” I’m not judging her at all. I couldn’t care less if she were a prostitute or participating in a nightly gang bang. You, however, are judging the Doctors who believe certain outdated and old fashioned things that govern whether they will treat someone in a non-emergency – and it wasn’t an imminent emergency. My view is that they have a right to be wrong and you can’t force them to think or act otherwise.

    She had 72 hours for the drug to have its maximum effectiveness. Also recall that I did say that I thought Emergency rooms should be required to provide it – though certainly not private doctors.

    And I didn’t say she was irresponsible for not knowing, I was making the point that she had enough time to get the pills she wanted. This goes along with my skepticism that she called every doctor in the phone book – she did all that research and she has a weblog, but she didn’t know she had 72 hours, which, according to her takes her well into Monday night? What I think is that she is making a big deal out of something that, under these particular facts, is not that big a deal.

    And I’m not perfect, and I’m rarely prepared, but would your position change if for example the pill were only effective for 3 hours? I’m guessing it would, though I certainly don’t mean to speak for you.

    Anyway, I’ll agree that Doctors shouldn’t have as much control as they do over certain drugs, but, well so does our government – since the Plan B Pill is soon going to be available over the counter.

    Finally, once again let me emphasize that I think your heart is in the right place, and that my disagreement with your idea does not mean I think that your idea is a stupid idea. I just think there are better solutions that allow for more individual freedoms (even for dumb-ass doctors).

  49. “Kid, what did you think of Evan’s argument that doctors and pharmacists are basically agents of the state, and state agents shouldn’t have the power to impose their own prejudices on others?”

    I think his idea, while it has merit, is bad. I say this because I imagine scenarios involving euthanasia and cases like the Richard Paey case where government involvement creates some of the most vastly moronic injustices I’ve ever seen. If we decide, “Hey, doctors are agents of the state because I want birth control,” then we’ve also decided they’re agents of the state in an assortment of other horrible situations. I don’t want to validate any profession coming under further control of the government – so I think it’s a bad idea.

  50. First of all, we don’t even know if they did create a child. Secondly, she tried to “take responsibility” via acquiring perfectly legal medication, but a doctor withheld it from her based on his own prejudice.

    Good point. I was talking hypotheticals. This is a real case. It brings up general cases, but I shouldn’t lose track of the case in point.

    Ken, why don’t you just admit that you are using “take responsibility” as code for “the woman should have to deal with nine months of pregnancy followed by the agony of childbirth, and if she wants to avoid this she should either get sterilization surgery (assuming she can find a doctor willing to do it) or simply refrain from having sex until after menopause?”

    Because that just isn’t the case.

    I haven’t been in a situation with someone I’ve intentionally wanted to have kids with, but that has stopped me from… It’s just that in all those cases, I’ve been prepared to live up to my responsibilities just in case things didn’t go according to plan.

    …but it just isn’t the case that I think women who don’t want children should avoid sex. …it’s just that I think both men and women should live up to their responsibilities.

  51. As a government employee, I’m automatically assigned to a primary care physician under my insurance. I don’t have any choice, except to petition to get a different physician.

    Let’s suppose this primary care physician refused to treat me for something because he has moral objections. I wouldn’t have time to go through the bureaucratic procedures of changing physicians. But I could use my own money and see a different doctor.

    But suppose we had socialized medicine where I can’t spend my own money since it’s not fair. If that happens, I’m screwed.

    For everybody who wants to see the state get even more power over medicine, just remember that we have a lot of religious zealots running our governments. Give them a tool to control your life, and they’ll use it for their own ideology.

  52. That still fails to address the point that she had according to my understanding of the timeline – just about all day and into the night on Monday.

    The 72 hours is just a potential window. The odds of success drop the longer you wait. From Wiki

    The effectiveness of emergency contraception is highest when taken within 12 hours of intercourse and declines over time. The limit of 72 hours is based on a study by the WHO. A subsequent WHO study has suggested reasonable effectiveness continues for up to 120 hours (5 days),

    So while it is quite possible that taking it Monday would have worked, it is not a good idea to wait.

  53. Kid –

    And as you pointed out, once you can force doctors through certain treatments, where does it stop?

    Can a plastic surgeon only work on accident victims and birth defects while saying no to non-medically necessary breast implants or face lifts?

    I, like you, agree the doctor has flawed logic – IE, why a single woman no, but a married woman yes? – but forcing every doctor into certain areas seems like a solution worse than the issue at hand.

    Karen –

    And yes, Jennifer, I do support your idea. Lawyers have something similar, in that if we take a case, we’re not allowed to fire our clients because they turn out to be guilty, nasty, or otherwise repulsive to us. I don’t see why doctors or pharmacists should be able to refuse treatment to those they disapprove of, either.

    Certainly doctors shouldn’t discriminate in taking patients, but this isn’t the same thing as saying they can’t discriminate in treatments. A lawyer does not have a duty to lie simply because their client says they should.

  54. I haven’t been in a situation with someone I’ve intentionally wanted to have kids with, but that has stopped me from…

    Should read …”but that has[n’t] stopped me from…”

  55. I?m not buying it. Every so often I read these stories; everything happens just so, the moons align, and some otherwise diligent and responsible woman is put down by the man. But if you dig a little into this woman?s story it seems a co-pay was one of the insurmountable hurdles. All that withstanding it still isn?t right, as Jennifer pointed out, that she can?t go down to the local market and just buy the stuff right of the counter. Or perhaps the local markets in her area would refuse to carry the product as well. What then, force them to stock certain products? Anyway, every last one of the wannbe exemplars I?ve come across to date stink. I call bullshit. It?s a problem some folks want to have just to point out what a load of crap a pharmacist?s or physician?s deference is. Perhaps I?d be more sympathetic if they weren?t just looking to restrict the freedom of some other group.

  56. but it just isn’t the case that I think women who don’t want children should avoid sex. …it’s just that I think both men and women should live up to their responsibilities.

    Ken, seriously: she was trying to obtain a legal method of ensuring that she wouldn’t get pregnant, but in your mind that apparently doesn’t count as “taking responsibility.” You say that I was wrong to characterize your argument as “taking responsibility = dealing with pregnancy and childbirth.” So what WOULD the woman have had to do, after having sex with a condom breakage, to qualify as “taking responsibility” in your view?

  57. I have to disagree with the idea that we should further nationalize doctors.

    First, two wrongs don’t make a right, period. The fact that doctors are “de facto agents of the state” (sidenote: I don’t agree with that characterization. What makes them agents? Their special access to scripts? Licenscing?) doesn’t mean that we should then force them to administer any treatment, any time. Additionally, you want to make them full-on agents of President Bush’s RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN state? Doesn’t make sense to me.

    Also, Frank, you’re almost right: 100 miles will put you in either one of the three Cs or Toledo in almost anywhere in the state…I would say the exception would be SE Ohio, but then they have Charleston, which isn’t too far.

  58. But if you dig a little into this woman?s story it seems a co-pay was one of the insurmountable hurdles

    No, it was “a co-pay with no guarantee that she’d actually get what she was paying for.” It’s one thing to say “you must pay $100 for this pill,” but another thing altogether to say “you must pay $100 but we still won’t give you the pill unless we damn well feel like it, and based on the way we’ve been acting we most likely won’t.”

  59. Here in the Fatherland of Ohio, the liquor stores are called “state agencies”…because they are licensced, regulated and are the gatekeepers of liquor for the state, should they be forced to sell to anyone, even if it goes against their moral beliefs about say, selling alcohol to the homeless, smelly drunk that comes in everyday? As an Objectivist, I am all about making a buck (especially in the air with my rational cigarettes), but compounding bad law with worse regulations is insanity.

  60. No, it was “a co-pay with no guarantee that she’d actually get what she was paying for.”

    Fine, but you are back to the problem of doctors holding the scrip pad. There is no doctor that will guarantee a given prescription sight unseen. They just can’t do that. Ask one and they will assume you are bullshitting them.

  61. because they are licensced, regulated and are the gatekeepers of liquor for the state, should they be forced to sell to anyone, even if it goes against their moral beliefs about say, selling alcohol to the homeless, smelly drunk that comes in everyday?

    I’d say yes. If you’re worried about the moral implications of selling alcohol to alcoholics, working in a liquor store is probably not the right career choice for you. But I don’t think your analogy applies to a doctor who bases his decisions not on medical considerations, but on whether a given woman should be “allowed” access to medication enabling her to enjoy sex without pregnancy.

  62. There is no doctor that will guarantee a given prescription sight unseen. They just can’t do that. Ask one and they will assume you are bullshitting them.

    The doctors were not asking about her medical history, but about her marital status and whether or not her sexual activity was consensual. That’s morality, not medicine. If the doctors had refused to give this woman Plan B because she had some sort of medical condition that would make taking that pill dangerous for her, I wouldn’t be complaining.

  63. 100 miles will put you in either one of the three Cs or Toledo in almost anywhere in the state…I would say the exception would be SE Ohio, but then they have Charleston, which isn’t too far.

    Even in SE Ohio you’d be in reach of Athens – which is sure to have at least one doctor willing to dispense. This story is bullshit.

  64. Ken, your logic would work if it was, well, logical. The problem is you’re implying that she wasn’t being responsible when she was. The first form of contriception failed and she was going with plan B as a just-in-case measure. You’re real problem kis that a woman is out there bumpin’ uglies FOR PLEASURE. Why not just come out and say it instead of dancing around the edge?

  65. Ken, I guess what you’re saying isn’t what I thought it was. You are taking a position fully and completely based on the assumption that personhood begins at conception, which goes far deeper than just the issue of responsibility.

    I think that assumption is counterintuitive, in that I don’t see how a couple of cells that wouldn’t fill a crack-spoon can be afforded personhood just because its alive.

    But I’m bringing the argument dangerously close to critical mass.

    On the subject of compelling doctors to serve patients, I grudgingly have to side with Ayn Randian. Yes, IF doctors are to be agents of the state, it would be better if they were at least good agents. But that’s exactly the sort of thinking that’s brought us where we are today.

    For instance: Suppose doctors are compelled to take patients who can’t pay. Those who can pay, must then pay more. So if my neighbor is fat, and smokes, and doesn’t wear a helmet when he motorcycles, and has no insurance, why should I pay more for that? Is the solution to force my neighbor to be healthy?

  66. ?The doctors were not asking about her medical history, but about her marital status and whether or not her sexual activity was consensual.?

    Some, not all were. Your point about the co-pay was that she wasn?t guaranteed the prescription before the visit, and so I?m not surprised she was turned down. Anyway, read what you want into this woman?s story. I?m convinced it?s contrived. Let?s say the drug she wanted was available over the counter. Would we still be having this discussion if the markets in her area refused to carry the stuff?

  67. I call bullshit too! Nobody really has sex unless it’s for procreation!

  68. and doesn’t wear a helmet when he motorcycles

    Helmets break. Isn’t how this whole thing got started?

  69. I work for a regulated insurance industry and am required by the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act to treat all comers non-discriminatorily. Seems somewhat analogous to me, and RESPA seems to me like reasonable legislation for the most part.

    RESPA exists, to some degree at least, to protect property rights – isn’t there some similar protection to be argued for people interested in protecting their bodily ones?

  70. So if my neighbor is fat, and smokes, and doesn’t wear a helmet when he motorcycles, and has no insurance, why should I pay more for that? Is the solution to force my neighbor to be healthy?

    That’s a good question, but a fundamentally different one from “can a doctor (i.e., one of the few people allowed by the state to grant access to medication) choose to give or withhold medication from a patient willing and able to pay based solely upon the doctor’s personal opinion of the patient?”

  71. Why should this woman have to pay for anything other than the pills? I’ve done contract work, and clients are always free to ask a question or generally use a few minutes of my time because that’s the way businesses operate. The idea that taking less than 5 minutes to do a short medical review and write a script would be $100 copay plus whatever insurance is hit for is ridiculous to me.

    My point is that if the doctor won’t give her the script, why shouldn’t a RN or pharmacist be able to?

    As to the other profound questions raised . . . beats me.

  72. This story stinks about as bad as this one did. But hey, let’s be credulous, because it suits our agenda.

    Standard blah blah blah: I believe this pill should be available to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Doesn’t mean for one second I buy this woman’s story.

  73. Jennifer, the question is fundamentally different because that’s not where the analogy is.

    I agree that IF doctors are to be the sole gatekeepers of medication, then they ought not to refuse a patient medication based on anything other than established medical practice.

    But that’s totally irrelevant, because doctors shoudn’t be gatekeepers in the first place. The solution is NOT to compel doctors to do anything, its to establish a free market in drugs.

    Similarly, the solution in my hypothetical scenario is NOT to force my neighbor to be healthy, its to stop compelling insurance companies to insure him at the same rate as me.

    I’m not just making the perfect the enemy of the good, here. Trying to fix a probem caused by government with more government might work, but it will create more problems than it solves and further entrench popular reliance on the State.

  74. Wow, I just read that. Any American mentioning the Army carrying AK-47’s is automatically a pinko. There’s no other explanation . . . ever.

  75. “But that’s totally irrelevant, because doctors shoudn’t be gatekeepers in the first place. The solution is NOT to compel doctors to do anything, its to establish a free market in drugs.”

    This would certainly be the best solution, but barring some cataclysmic policy change it isn’t going to happen. So it’s not totally irrelevant, it’s reality.

    I see some similarities with gay marriage here. Some people say we shouldn’t force others to recognize gay relationships; they argue that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether, knowing that isn’t possible in the foreseeable future. Some hold this as a principled position, but I think it’s pretty clear that a lot use it as an excuse to cover their personal biases (there’s not quite the popular uprising over goverment sanctioning of straight marriage, is there?).

    To be clear, I’m not saying you’re in that second group, Lord Duppy. You deserve the assumption of fair-mindedness until you show otherwise, just like anyone else. But I definitely disagree with your reasoning. Given the system we’re stuck with, we should make the rules as unbiased as possible within those confines.

  76. Worse than that, Berry.

    It’s plain and simple liberalism! Nothing but pure liberalism!!

    No matter what I do, I’m supposed to be able to “make” somebody else bail me out. “Their” mor’es and morals have “no” place in even thinking they are not “required” to bail me out.

    And not just “any” other person; Just the one/s I “choose” to bail me out.

    “All” the medical people that I can find in my area are strict in their moral/religious beliefs about killing babies/potential babies, but I can drive 100 miles, (2 hours at the very most), in any direction, (sounds like Alaska, or maybe Montana rather than Ohio), and get what I can’t get in my own neighborhood. But I don”t “choose” to do that. No siree bob, I want somebody to bail me out here and now, and that’s the bottom line. I may come up pregnant if I don’t drive that hunnerd miles, but why should I have to? I got my “rights”, y’know.

    This time it’s about the unexpected (?????) outcome of a roll in the haystack. Next time it’ll be something else entirely, but the basic premise will be just as valid. I want somebody else to bail me out, no matter about my own conduct.

    But this 2006 in the year of our Load. So how many ways can somebody have sex these days and not risk a pregnancy? I wonder if at least “some” of the ways are still depicted on the walls of the ruins in ancient Egypt? (But of course, sex is “different” today than it was back then. Today we have “doctors” and “medicine” we can dictate “our” beliefs to. lol)

    Dreaded redundancy, dammit!!. I just want somebody else to give up all “their” rights and give me what “I” want.

    “When” I want it,

    “where” I want it, and

    “how” I by God want it.

    Pure liberalism. But then why not? This is, after all, 2006.

  77. Hey, if this couple wanted to avoid pregnancy, they could always have buttfucked.

  78. And as I was saying, there was RU-486, which would provide more-or-less the same effects as emergency contraception without much of the mess of other abortion methods…

    Also, since this lady prides herself as being a radical feminist, why did she just accept what her docotr told her what to do?
    I would’ve definitley called about what happened in my search for Plan B and see what my PCP (primary care provider) could do to alleviate the situation. Damn the tiredness, it’s the PCPs job to provide for my health care.

    And another thing, her latest post reveals that she had surgery of her cervix in which another pregnancy would’ve caused many a problem…but, she didn’t get her tubes tied…and yet she still can’t afford another kid…I mean if you know you can’t afford another kid then tubal ligation is a good way to go and it’s possibly reversible…

  79. Well, Berry, I guess after re-reading that thread (particularly the comments from one-time-only poster “wayne”) I can see how you came to that conclusion. That still doesn’t change the fact that the story presented in that thread stunk (and I think history has proven me right) and that the story in this thread stinks (for the same reason).

    Anyone besides me check out the mission statement of that blog? I realize that it seems to be politically incorrect on this forum to question someone’s motives (unless the motive is religion, which sickens me as well, but unlike a lot of people, even as an atheist I can accept people being motivated to believe something because of religion), but if you didn’t bother, I’ll quote it for you:

    I want to make it clear to everyone who is reading, commenting and critiquing that this space is intended to be a safe space for feminists. Particularly, and most importantly, radical feminists. Far too often the voices of the radicals are silenced, I have seen this time and time again. Over and over, good ‘feminist’ sites start up and before long, the trolls come, the MRA’s come, the ‘Fuck me feminists’ come and soon, the radicals are lost. They are outnumbered, outshouted, harried, harassed and eventually driven off.

    So, we have an admitted “radical feminist” (whatever the hell that is) bitching and moaning that she had to “call every hospital in the phone book” and still couldn’t get the morning after pill.

    FWIW, Planned Parenthood of SE Ohio has a webpage that spells out how you can get said pill from them, and they claim it is good for 120 hours after the suspected impregnation.

  80. Ken, seriously: she was trying to obtain a legal method of ensuring that she wouldn’t get pregnant, but in your mind that apparently doesn’t count as “taking responsibility.” You say that I was wrong to characterize your argument as “taking responsibility = dealing with pregnancy and childbirth.” So what WOULD the woman have had to do, after having sex with a condom breakage, to qualify as “taking responsibility” in your view?

    Once again, before you pointed out that I was ignoring the case at hand, I was talking about the ethics in general rather than this case specifically. As we’ve discussed before, we take responsibility for the damage we do to other people’s cars when we pull out of our driveways. …and the responsibility I was talking about is like that in some ways.

    Her responsibility was to the kid–not to herself or to some society wide concept of what responsibility means. It’s not something I’m projecting on to her–it’s a deal she made. In some ways, it’s like a contract. …and it can’t be voided unilaterally.

    However, I can see problems with the practical application of ethics in the law. Just because something is unethical doesn’t mean it should be illegal, and I could be persuaded that this is one of those cases. It very well may be that the day after pill isn’t like an abortion and shouldn’t be treated like an abortion in the law. I can see that.

  81. Ken, your logic would work if it was, well, logical.

    I don’t see anything wrong with my logic. If you see a real flaw, please point it out.

    The problem is you’re implying that she wasn’t being responsible when she was. The first form of contriception failed and she was going with plan B as a just-in-case measure.

    The question isn’t about what she did to try to prevent it. It’s about what she does once she’s pregnant. If I drive responsibly and try to avoid accidents, that doesn’t mean I’m not responsible if I damage someone’s car.

    You’re real problem kis that a woman is out there bumpin’ uglies FOR PLEASURE. Why not just come out and say it instead of dancing around the edge?

    I wouldn’t mischaracterize your as an ad hominem–I think it’s more of a straw man.

  82. I can’t believe that I’m awake at this hour, or that this thread is still alive, or that I checked it again.

    jf, I think there might be a bit of confusion. I’m not exactly sure what conclusion you think I came to, but my best guess is that you thought my AK remark was in response to something you said on the thread.

    I was in fact referring to the original story without any sarcasm, because from my experience only whiny liberals with horn-rimmed glasses don’t know the difference between a commie rifle and an American rifle. I found your comment via ctrl+F “AK.” It appears we’re in 100% agreement.

    Yes, I spent a solid 30 minutes reading her site. She appears to be a little off-kilter because of some very real childhood trauma. And she’s an idiot.

    BTW, if you’re not aware of the Hatemonger’s Quarterly, you should be.
    http://hatemongersquarterly.mu.nu/

  83. Where I see a problem is in what Kid Handsome mentioned earlier; right now, Jennifer, you believe that because doctors are “agents of the state” (a term with which I still disagree), they should be forced to give treatment despite their personal preferences. But then, what treatments are alright to withold? If we’re going to say that moral preferences can’t play a part, I would forsee two things:

    A) If the doctor’s moral preferences are that strong, he’ll stop practicing medicine, and everybody loses on that one. What if he’s a renowned heart surgeon who happens to be on ER rounds that day and you force him to go against his principles? We lose one heart surgeon.

    B) We rightly consider female circumcision for the barbaric practice that it is, but many Islamic Africans see it as a necessity. Morally, as a doctor, I would tell those people who wanted me to perform that operation to get the hell out of my office. But, morality can’t play a part, so I tell them that it’s medically unnecessary, and then I am going to end up in court defending the term “medically necessary”, which just ties up my doctor skills some more and inevitably leads to the state determining what’s medically necessary and what isn’t. If this doctor had said “I don’t believe this is medically necessary” to this woman, then what?

  84. Her responsibility was to the kid–not to herself or to some society wide concept of what responsibility means. It’s not something I’m projecting on to her–it’s a deal she made. In some ways, it’s like a contract. …and it can’t be voided unilaterally.

    So I was right to say that in this case you used “take responsibility” as code for “risk having to deal with nine months of pregnancy and the resulting agony of childbirth.”

    Although in all fairness, I’m sure you’d authorize the use of epidurals to make the birthing process slightly less agonizing.

  85. So I was right to say that in this case you used “take responsibility” as code for “risk having to deal with nine months of pregnancy and the resulting agony of childbirth.”

    If you don’t want to risk this, don’t have sex. And when someone won’t sell you want you want because they think what you did was immoral, you don’t have the right to whine.

    I think the Doc’s a tool, but having the right to be a tool is what makes America great.

  86. Ken Shultz,

    Apparently you didn’t follow the link I posted.

    It is categorically not an abortion.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/05/plan_b_again.php

  87. The story might indeed be fake (I’d appreciate a citation of the number of providers she allegedly called) but the question of whether doctors are agents of that entity which holds a monopoly over the means of violence in a geographic area(learned that in a power and dominance class — a legitimate sociology course* by the way and not dominatrix training) is still relevant & the story could be viewed as a decent hypothetical.

    *I realize many would consider this an oxymoron.

    The server is especially obstinate and infuriating. It’s been going straight to “Page Not Found” without a moment’s delay.

  88. “They used a condom, but it broke”

    Yes I read the article, No I don’t believe everything I read.

    My point is, plan B, birth control, and abortion is an issue, because some people think its wrong (if not murder). But, being PRO-abortion, I think those people happen to be wrong. But the fact they disagree with me does not make them neanderthals, assholes, morons, fascists, etc. For them it is a serious moral issue. The people refering to pro-lifers as “assholes” as opposed to “people with a fundamentally different viewpoint than myself” are the ones showing their shallowness on the issue, IMO. And I suspect many are less serious and more political on the point.

    And the condom always breaks. That’s how my exwife and I came to have a beautiful fetus before marriage….yeah right! I concede condoms DO on rare occasion break, and one party is always pleasantly aware when it happens, and I mean right when it happens and not at the end of the ordeal. But the words “the condom broke” are probably used about 10+ times for each condom that actually breaks. I’ll run off and conduct a scietific study on the matter and report back with my findings. “Condom broke” is (often, have to say that so morons don’t crucify me) a line to convey a false claim of personal responsibility to really stupid parents. Buy into it if you like. I just smile.

  89. “But the fact they disagree with me does not make them neanderthals, assholes, morons, fascists, etc. For them it is a serious moral issue”

    If they can’t cogently explain why they think it’s wrong then I think many if not all of those terms could apply.

  90. “But the fact they disagree with me does not make them neanderthals, assholes, morons, fascists, etc. For them it is a serious moral issue”

    If they can’t cogently explain why they think it’s wrong then I think many if not all of those terms could apply.

    Stupendous,

    Have standards for cognecy in ethical argumentation been universally established? (Serious question; I may well have misunderstood you.)

  91. http://www.thefreedictionary.com

    -Appealing to the intellect or powers of reasoning; convincing

    I’m talking about an argument that doesn’t appeal to emotion. Ex. the opposite the of Leon Kass wisdom of repugnanace argument.

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