“So, you had fun last night, eh?”
That’s the snarky remark a 20-year-old woman heard when she asked a male pharmacist for the morning-after pill only a few days ago in France.
Thinking the professional had not heard her properly, she asked for the emergency contraception again, without paying attention to the possible comment. The obnoxious knob behind the counter replied:
“Are you in a bad mood? I guess you were not feeling so grumpy last night. You should stop taking off your clothes for no reason.”
Shocked and embarrassed, she did not reply. The misogynic douchebag, him, had a field day:
“Have you decided to ask for it nicely and take responsibility for your nightly adventures?”
Humiliated, she walked out without the medicine. Upon leaving she heard the word “slut” being directed at her.
That’s what it’s like to be a sexually-active woman nowadays. You need to be shamed right out of that bad habit you have of having sex.
I’ve taken the morning-after pill twice in my life and, although I don’t have to justify myself, for the purpose of showing you that there is not one single type of women who need to use this type of contraception (clueless sluts, who else?) here is what you need to know about my experience: Condoms were used both times; I did not have sex with a random man, but with my partner of 7 years; I have been seeing my gynecologyst yearly since I’m 18.
Any woman may need emergency contraception, just like any woman may need to get an abortion, because no contraception works 100%; not the pill, not IUDs, not condoms. Any woman can get pregnant while using contraception, but it’s people’s default setting to assume that bad girls get the morning-after pill/an abortion and good girls don’t have sex/are married mothers.
The pharmacist mentioned above could not legally deny that young woman the medicine she asked for, but it may only be a matter of time before he is able to do so. The French College of Pharmacists is currently rewriting its Code of Ethics and is debating including a conscience clause allowing individual pharmacists to not provide medicine if they believe it is meant to “terminate human life”. This could open Pandora’s box and lead pharmacists to deny any form of contraception to women, directly attacking French women’s rights to their own bodies.
The morning-after pill has been available in French pharmacies and schools since 1999. It is free for women under the age of 18 and students, and its price is 65% covered by health care for other women over the age of 18 if they have a doctor’s prescription (without one, it costs only 7.60 euros). Yet, in April 2016, a documentary by L’Autre JT already showed a young woman being denied the emergency contraception in two pharmacies under false pretenses.
The French College of pharmacist will meet in September 2016 to announce its final decision on the possible addition of a conscience clause to its Code of Ethics.