pregnancy

Christie Hayes needed the morning after pill. The pharmacist's response left her outraged.

So I had sex a few days ago. With my husband.

On the rare night our almost two-year-old decided he didn’t hate his cot and was cool to sleep without us, we actually got a chance to be within 10 meters of each other and, hell, we played touchies. (Excuse the baby talk, its a hard habit to break.)

I’m a responsible woman, and after I had my second baby and stopped breastfeeding I got on the pill. Oohh yes, no more babies for me. That’s it. Or, at least not for a while. (Don’t freak out, new husband!)

Anyway, for a few reasons, I had to stop the pill for one month and wait until my next period before I could resume its use. So, we used a condom. But hey, it was pitch black — we do not ever turn any of the lights on in the house for fear of waking said almost two-year-old — and seriously, as we all know, they aren’t always gonna work.

Women reveal the weirdest things they’ve heard between the sheets. Post continues below. 

The next day — well, the next minute, to be honest — I thought, “I’d better take the morning after pill.”

It’s a legal form of emergency contraception, NOT an abortion (“Emergency contraception pills, ‘the Morning After Pill’, may stop a pregnancy before it starts by preventing or delaying the release of an egg from the ovaries. They do not prevent fertilisation, inhibit implantation or end an established pregnancy. Emergency contraception pills are not abortion pills.”) and it is able to be purchased over the counter without a prescription.

So let’s not think I’m being blasé about a serious topic. I wouldn’t be.

I had two sick kids at home and it was cold, wet, and stressful – attributes which make it hard to load two babies in the car. So, I asked my hubby to grab it for me during the day on my behalf.

I love it when we’re cruisin together ????⚓️⛵️???? #datenight @danescher (Ain’t he fine!?????) xx

A photo posted by C H R I S T I E (@christiehayes_) on Apr 7, 2016 at 2:35am PDT

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He wasn’t allowed to. They wouldn’t sell it to him. I’m sure any woman in Australia who has asked her husband/partner to buy this for them was met with the same amount of frustration and outrage I was.

A LEGAL pill that does not require a prescription, and yet no third party can buy it on behalf of someone? A husband not for his wife? A boyfriend not for his girlfriend? A brother not for his sister? A trusted source not for a terrified young girl seeking help?

So, let me get this straight: we drill into men that it’s their job to be as responsible as a woman when it comes to safe sex. For instance, to always carry and use a condom in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Yet when it comes to being responsible AFTER sex, the blame lies solely with a woman?

Listen to Christie Hayes on our parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

All I could think was that it must be because a pharmacist had to disclose information to me personally; a duty of care. There was no other logical reason. Right? Wrong.

I took my two sick kids with me to the chemist and walked to the counter to buy the morning after pill. Let’s acknowledge the fact this was now 48 hours later, and therefore the chances of it being effective were greatly reduced. It’s 95 per cent effective within the first 12 hours only, so because my partner was denied this purchase it would be less effective.

I had a feeling the tone of the interaction might change, but I decided to give the pharmacist the benefit of the doubt. I mean, not everyone lives in this judgmental ridiculous notion that women don’t have the right to emergency contraception should there be concerns about conceiving? Wrong again.

The pharmacist cheerfully asked me how I was, to which I cheerfully replied I was great thanks, albeit freezing, and I needed to buy the emergency contraception please. I deliberately used those words too. I wanted to keep in perspective what I was purchasing.

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✨????✨[email protected] @couturebyfrancesca ???? @lawrencefurzey

A photo posted by C H R I S T I E (@christiehayes_) on Sep 11, 2016 at 2:05am PDT

Well, didn’t that tune change. She walked away to another woman, started whispering, “She needs the morning after pill” and as they both stood there hush hush-ing, I was seriously close to pointing out to them that it wasn’t a library, they didn’t need to whisper. I’m an almost 30-year-old, well-educated mother of two — I’m not ashamed of what I was doing, and they shouldn’t have made me feel like I should be.

So why couldn’t my partner buy this for me? Why can’t the young teenage couple (obviously I’m an advocate for the legal age of consensual sex) who naturally have no idea what they are doing in the bedroom, and take things too far, have this done by the male?

What if the girl is too terrified of her parents finding out her cherry has been plucked? Yes, yes, I know you’re going to say, ‘Well she shouldn’t be having sex if she’s not on the pill’, but let’s be realistic here. It happens.

What if we are talking the rape of a young girl too scared to seek this emergency contraception and confides in her brother?

I mean, any girl on the planet can always walk into a pharmacy and pretend the tablet is for her, and then just give it to her girlfriend who was too shy to buy it.

So what’s the difference? If we can ascertain that the morning after pill will not always be for the female recipient in front of the counter, why can’t a male purchase it?

Like I said, surely the sole reason would be that a pharmacist would have to disclose information and instruction, and therefore be bound by duty of care. Well, she didn’t.

At no point was I asked the following questions:

– Have you had this before?
– Is this medication for you?
– When was your last period?
– Are you on antibiotics?
– Is there a chance you could be pregnant?
– Are you aware that in an extreme case, this tablet can lead to an ectopic pregnancy and therefore be fatal?

???? (also very happy this picture isn’t too close up, demonstrating how appallingly I apply eyeliner.) @danescher

A photo posted by C H R I S T I E (@christiehayes_) on Aug 9, 2016 at 2:54am PDT

On that note, anybody can walk into a pharmacy and purchase a massive packet of Panadol with the intention of suiciding. A lot of over-the-counter medications used incorrectly can cause fatality, that’s what medicine is. So once more, I’m not sure of the reasoning a man cannot buy the morning after pill. As established, any girl can, and she can give it to any girl to use instead.

In a nutshell, all that was passed on with a judgmental smile was this:

“It’s just one tablet and you drink it with lots of water. It’s best consumed within 12 hours of the unprotected sex.”

A rehearsed spiel that didn’t even suit my circumstance. I told her it was now TWO days later. I also felt the need to point out to her it wasn’t unprotected sex, but got annoyed at myself afterwards for doing that because I shouldn’t have had to.

Whether you agree with it or not, the morning after pill is a legal tablet for emergency contraception and its access should not be prohibited based on gender or religion.

Sunday turning on the ????

A photo posted by C H R I S T I E (@christiehayes_) on Aug 13, 2016 at 6:17pm PDT

Not overlooking the obvious things, like a woman who might genuinely not be able to get to a chemist. My sister starts work at 7am on some days and finishes at 5pm in a small country town. I don’t like her chances of getting to a chemist within business hours.

No, I’m not suggesting we sell the morning after pill at every corner store like lollipops to discourage women from worrying about practicing sex safe. But I am suggesting we take a look at the reasoning we are discouraging a man to be able to partake in a responsibility that might also be his.

I was um’ing and ah’ing about this article as I know it might not be too popular a stance with some readers and I might get attacked in the comments section, but I think it’s worth a thought over our morning coffee. Also in case you wondered, no — I am not pregnant. And on that note, our two-year-old is welcome to sleep with us as long as he likes.

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