When actress Christie Hayes penned a fired-up piece for Mamamia about her husband being denied the morning-after pill, it proved incredibly divisive with readers. Some said it would be dangerous for pharmacists to distribute emergency contraception via a third party, while others insisted women not receiving it was worse.
Heather Maltman is one of the latter.
During a discussion about the issue on Studio 10 this morning, the 2015 Bachelor contestant spoke about her own traumatic experience; one she says still “massively” affects her to this day.
The 29-year-old said she once had an encounter with a former partner that meant she required the morning-after pill but, busy with work the following day, she asked him to purchase it for her.
“He actually couldn’t pick it up; they said no to him. And because of it I took it too late, and I actually ended up having a miscarriage,” she said.
“So when I read [Hayes’ piece] it absolutely blew my mind.”
Emergency contraception is most effective when taken within 12 hours of intercourse, as it delays ovulation and can prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterine lining. It’s not an abortion, it’s entirely legal and doesn’t require a prescription, yet a third party in unable to purchase it on a woman’s behalf.
As Hayes wrote for Mamamia, “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?”
Maltman agrees that the policy needs to be amended.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to go and do that for me. It was such a bad judgement call,” she said, adding her partner could have relayed any of the pharmacist’s questions to her.
Heather on The Bachelor. Image: Channel 10.
Instead, when Maltman did ultimately make it into the chemist 48 hours later, she says was forced to explain to the pharmacist why she hadn't been able to obtain the pill sooner.
"It made me feel like the worst person in the world," she said. "It made me feel like a total [whore], you know. It was awful."
Studio 10 co-host Sarah Harris, expressed her shock and sympathy for Maltman's experience, and said: "People who receive that over the counter shouldn't feel like that in any way whatsoever. You're being responsible for your body," she said.
"I'm so sorry that happened to you."
"Yeah, it was awful," said Maltman. "They really need to change it. I'm with [Hayes] all the way."