What happens when there’s no Plan B?

You get one guess.

You get one guess.

And I bet you thought the Bush Administration was anti-abortion.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

10 thoughts on “What happens when there’s no Plan B?”

  1. I won't say that the woman in question did not engage in risky behaviour, but Rhymes' attempt to defend Bush's health care policy doesn't work.
    If you want to disagree with OTC Plan B, that's fine. But pretending, as the Bush team have done, that there are medical concerns when there aren't, and then lying about it, and then making up some paranoid theory about potential teenage sex cults having recreational abortions is just silly and insulting.
    Heck, it would even be fine if they said "I really don't see a problem, but the religious right will lynch me". At least it would be honest.

  2. Is that really the best the washington post could come up with. Her regular doctor didn't prescribe it so she decided not to bother to call other doctors. She knows how to call Planned Parenthood for an abortion but isn't smart enough (and a lawyer of course) to ask them for a doctor that prescribes Plan B on a quick basis. Is this what qualifies as a pro-choice sob story nowadays?

  3. Did Rhymes actually read her account of her efforts to get Plan B? Remember, this is a married woman past normal childbearing age, who has no prior reason to believe her normal medical advisers will not or cannot help her.
    The only way I can make sense of the right-wing position on this is that the objective is not at all to reduce the number and lateness of abortions, to reduce sin in their terms. It is to maximise guilt; to punish women for having sex.

  4. I suspect that the logic is along the lines of – if a woman cannot terminate her possible pregnancy within three days, she may wait to see if she is really pregnant. And if she is, she may well choose not to abort. That is, Plan B is (to most abortion opponents, AFAIK) no better than a surgical or chemical abortion, and hindering it could prevent some terminations.
    That said, I think the woman in question really did fail to avail herself of all options, preferring to take a chance rather than hunt for an alternative doctor. And pregnancy in the 40s is not so horrible. Our daughter was born when my wife was 43 and is perfectly healthy and a joy.

  5. Good grief. First, forget about that 72-hour business. The woman had perhaps a 7-hour window, while the kids were at school on a Friday, to get to a doctor.
    She talked to her ob/gyn's office, her internist's office, and her midwife's office. Probably all three involved, at minimum, placing a call; waiting for some assistant to the provider to call back; explaining the situation; and waiting for the assistant to catch the provider between patients, discuss the matter and call back again.
    To say she didn't do enough is to say that it's reasonable to find a doctor who's taking new patients and can fit one in with no advance notice between 3 and 5 p.m. on a Friday. You do know, don't you, that a new patient has to come nearly an hour early to fill out the paperwork about Grandma's cholesterol level and let the staff run a credit check? Just imagine how many doctors she'd have had to call to find one who'd even consider that late on a Friday.
    I would guess that Rhymes, Sebastian and Russ have never had to navigate the American health-so-called-care system when the pressure was on. Either they and their families have had extraordinary health, or they have womenfolk to do the work for them.
    Which leads to the following conspiratorial theory:
    Suppose the logic is to introduce one more nightmarish chore into women's lives to help drive them out of the workforce, for any number of nefarious reasons?

  6. I think people who are against abortions, OR plan B shouldn't have them. And leave the rest of us to decide with our mates, doctors and consciences.

  7. Susan —
    Actually, I navigate it on a teacher's salary, with considerably less disposible income than Dana, a lawyer in a two-income marriage has.
    And I manage it quite frequently, given that my wife suffers from a chronic degenerative illness that is slowly leaving her physically debilitated. And given that I have nearly lost her three times in the last five years, I know how to navigate it when the pressure is on. And I know you don't stop after three phone calls — and that the emergency room is always close by if you need treatment after hours.
    But you know what — even though we are still young 'uns around Dana's age, we both know where babies come from, and that unprotected sexual intercourse is the leading cause of pregnancy.

  8. Just for kicks, I went to Scarleteen to see how many doctors are listed in Virginia as willing to prescribe Plan B and of the few who are willing, they are almost all limited to established patients. This is why ACOG is encouraging women to get a Plan B script just to have it on hand in case they need it. Because it's hard to get it when you need it.
    In any event, the point isn't that, with a great deal more effort, Dana L. might have gotten a doctor who might have been willing to help her. As suggested above, this is not necessarily or even most likely the case. The point is, she shouldn't have had to expend any more effort than going to the closest 24 hour CVS whenever it was convenient within the window of time.
    But then, "making life harder for the average American because, you know, it builds character for the little guys to have their dreams stomped on" seems to be the leitmotif of this administration.

  9. Speaking as the father of two sons, I know how difficult it is to find 'us' time when the kids are 'tween'agers. Forgetting the diaphragm in the heat of the moment is human. Condoms can be integrated into foreplay if you're creative, but my ex- and I never did figure out how to integrate a diaphragm into foreplay.
    Making a mistake like that is trivially easy. When a mistake is easy to make, correction should also be easy. Dana needs to find both a new internist and a new Ob/Gyn, and make it very clear to her current providers why she is leaving their care. Once she's identified her new physicians, she needs to get a prescription for Plan B, fill it, and keep it on-hand. She needs to fill it now so that the next time this happens she won't write a story about driving over the D.C. Metro area searching for a pharmacist that will fill her prescription while the clock's ticking.
    Dana's horror story wouldn't happen here in New Mexico. Pharmacists are permitted to issue a prescription for Plan B and provide it, or (for those in the southern reaches of the state) you can hop across the border and go to a pharmacia and pick up Plan B subsidized by the Mexican government. Dontcha just love it?

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