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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Arizona Law & Emergency Contraception

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Author Topic: Arizona Law & Emergency Contraception
missLX
Neophyte
Member # 44103

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I just moved to Arizona this fall to attend college. Like most females in the college setting, I am a sexually active individual. For the most part, we sexually active young ladies are very intelligent and responsible when it comes to our sexual health. So this is why I am hugely disappointed in a law that was passed in Arizona that could limit our access to emergency contraception (Plan B).

This piece of legislation allows pharmacy employees to deny anyone emergency contraception based on religious belief. But what exactly does that mean? Basically, you can go to any pharmacy in dire need of emergency contraception, and if the person behind the counter doesn't approve of the fact you're having sex, they can refuse to give it to you and hide behind religion.

To me, this is entirely ridiculous! If I am in need of emergency contraception, I have a RIGHT to have access to it! Someone else's personal (or religious) beliefs have nothing to do with my RIGHT to avoid pregnancy. Emergency contraception DOES NOT terminate pregnancy in any way, shape, or form. It is NOT the abortion pill. It is merely contraception intended to discourage pregnancy.

So think about it, YOU could be the girl running to the pharmacy because your birth control failed and need emergency contraception. There is NOTHING wrong with not wanting to get pregnant! But if someone else thinks there is, you will be forced to leave the pharmacy empty handed and terrified of the possibility of getting pregnant before you're ready.

I am disgusted that any state in America would pass such a law. We have the RIGHT to have access to proper birth control! This has nothing to do with abortion in any way. It's really just some way to show that some members of society frown upon your sexuality. So what if I have sex without the intention of conception? So what if I'm not married? I want to have SAFE SEX and have the RIGHT to do so!

What kind of message is this going to send young girls in dire situations? "Oh shit, my birth control failed, but some political crap is keeping me getting the emergency contraception I need." I mean, what you do if this happened to you? Personally, I would not know what to do if I was denied emergency contraception and thought it probable that I was pregnant.

Posts: 29 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ecofem
Activist
Member # 13388

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Hey wildcat316,

I'm sorry to hear you're so upset by this law, and certainly rightfully so!

I am over 17, and personally have never had any problems obtaining EC from pharmacists. (I got my most recent package from Wal-Mart even!) They just asked me how old I was and that was it. However, who knows what one will say when you're in a jam? I'd recommend having a dose on hand (mine's in my safer sex kit) just in case. It doesn't change this law directly but can certainly help you in a jam. [Smile]

What about getting more active with either reproductive rights groups on or off campus, writing to your legislators (using your new AZ address) or volunteering somewhere? I'd assume your campus student health office would be a good place to obtain EC. You could work on compiling a list of places where people can easily and without question get EC. [Smile]

Here are two articles you may find helpful:
Activism 101
I need EC now but cannot get it in my country
Vote Pro-Contraception
The Emergency Contraception Website
Is is really illegal to sell me condoms?
Sisters Are (or Should Be) Doin' It for Themselves

Good luck on trying your "anger into power" (to quote the Clash)! [Smile]

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missLX
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Thanks for the advice, I think this is an issue I will get very involved in. It just really butters my bread that I am 18 and should have access to emergency contraception if I needed it. I first learned about this issue in my college's newspaper, and it stated that this could affect the health center on campus as well.
[Frown]

Posts: 29 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jill2000Plus
Activist
Member # 41657

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2 things:

1. Being under 18 shouldn't mean you can't get emergency contraception or an abortion without parental consent or the approval of religion.

2. Why should somebody be able to restrict access to abortion? You keep saying this has nothing to do with abortion but I don't see why it's ok to restrict the abortion pill either.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ecofem
Activist
Member # 13388

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[Hey Jill, just wanted to point out that emergency contraception is NOT the "abortion pill"; it's a somewhat common misunderstanding and a myth we really want to bust here at Scarleteen. For more information, please see this link:
10 Common Myths, Misunderstandings and Big Ol' Lies About Emergency Contraception
. Thanks! [Smile] )

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missLX
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Right, Plan B is not the abortion pill! And also, the thing that makes me most mad is that this has nothing to do with age. You can be over 18 and try to get Plan B, and if the person behind the counter doesn't want to sell it to you, they don't have to.
Posts: 29 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jill2000Plus
Activist
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I know that Plan B isn't the abortion pill (which I understand is RU486), I just meant that the emphasis put on the "this is not abortion" aspect, while important in terms of factual accuracy, doesn't make a difference with regards to whether pharmacists should be allowed to use their religion as justification for violating someone's right to ownership of their body, when I said "abortion pill EITHER (not internet shouting, I just don't know how to do italics)" I meant I don't think it's right to restrict access to EC or RU486. I am basically asking if the opening poster thinks that legal minors should be at the mercy of legal adults with regards to their body ownership, and whether they think that abortion should be restricted.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
missLX
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Personally I am still on the fence about abortion. No, I do not believe that anyone else should have control over your own body. On the one hand I do believe that women of all ages should be able to have the final say in what happens to their own body. I would never want to be forced into a pregnancy or forced out of one. However, I cannot help but be influenced by my own morals and beliefs. In my personal opinion, I believe all life is sacred, including the life of an unborn child at any stage (and yes, I am aware that by law and science a fetus, zygote, etc. is not technically alive. Though I disagree with this). So like I said, I am on the fence about the whole thing so prefer not to say anything at all.

Which is why I wanted to make it clear that this post was not about the abortion pill. I am still unclear on how I feel about the abortion pill or abortion as a whole. This post is about Arizona law restricting a woman's access to preventitive pregnancy measures. I am outraged because they are trying to restrict access to a form of birth control that could prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

I appreciate your posts, but I really had no intentions of debating abortion in this topic.

Posts: 29 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ASargent42
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 28733

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Even if they decide to deny you EC because of religious beliefs,they should still at least direct you to another place/pharmacy where you can get it. As far as I knew, it doesn't matter which state you live in, if the pharmacist or pharmacy technician is morally against providing EC, they can refuse to provide it. They just have to give you options on where to go from there.

[ 12-05-2009, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: ASargent42 ]

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Amanda
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missLX
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Wow, I didn't know that the state didn't matter. I had read about this is in article in the school paper and had never heard about it before. I just find it so shocking that this is an OK practice, even if they were to refer to a place where you could get it.
Posts: 29 | From: Tucson, AZ | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Arizona IS one of the particularly bad states when it comes to sexual and repro health and access and in AZ, there IS a policy in place which allows for EC refusals without anyone having to give options or refer. This is the case in some states.

Here you go: http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/choice-action-center/in_your_state/who-decides/state-profiles/arizona.html?templateName=lawdetails&issueID=14&ssumID=2467

Here's a nice loophole for you, though: should this happen to you, you can ask if the person refusing put that into writing with their employer, and cite the policy to make clear that if they DID NOT, they do not have the right to refuse. If they still do, you call your local ACLU office, and they will go at it, I assure you. The ACLU has been working hard on these refusal cases and wants to track them all.

However, you merely being that assertive about the law, since plenty of these folks likely are NOT, and did not know they needed to put it in writing, may get you what you need right then and there.

[ 12-05-2009, 02:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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