Ladies! Are you sick of getting the stink-eye whenever you bring your small children to froofy coffeehouses? Tired of having to take them to some sticky McDonaldLand to turn them loose? Or maybe you keep reading about those snotty parents who seem to feel no compunction about letting their spawn run amok in grown-up places and find yourself wishing that you could act that entitled and self-righteous. Looks fun, doesn’t it?
But where can you take your kids, relax a little, and impose your own values on strangers? Forget those twee little bakeries with their overpriced scones and tin ceilings: Why not take your kids to the pharmacy at Target instead? Or Rite Aid? Or Walgreen’s? Any pharmacy, in fact, with a policy of employing pharmacists who believe children are so special, they think it’s a shame when you try to not conceive them. These nice people in white coats will be thrilled to host your rambunctious toddlers for a couple hours while you shop. Sure, they make it hard for you to get Plan B, but you can always count on them for a big dose of Plan Wheeeee!
Who says a pharmacy isn’t a kid-friendly place? Some of these pharmacists like children so much, they want you to have the ones you didn’t even mean to have! And when you think about it, pharmacies are awesome places for young children to run and play, especially behind that door marked PRIVATE (Go on in! These folks don’t care about privacy!) which leads to a wonderful land of bottles and jars to shake shake shake. Plus plenty of childproof caps to challenge them, hundreds of colorful little beadies to count, lots of new words to learn (Say it: “Meth-o-trex-ate.”) and no shortage of arthritic elderly friends to trip up. Really, it’s like a Montessori school with Muzak.
Some folks think the kind of pharmacists who refuse to fill emergency contraception prescriptions are judgmental and stodgy, but that’s just not true at all. They’re actually spontaneous and fun, always encouraging you to embrace the unknown! Hey, take a chance on that broken condom!, they’ll say, or aw, what’s another baby? or just because he’s a date rapist doesn’t mean he can’t be a good daddy! This whimsical approach to life means they won’t mind at all if your 3-year old wants to repeatedly kick the glass case where the razor blades are kept, stick Nicorette patches on Mrs. DeSimone’s leg while she waits to pick up her heart medication, or see what’s inside Mr. Thermometer. In the meantime, especially if you’re at Target, you can shop for thongs, or liquor, or wholesome toys, content in the knowledge that someone with moral values is looking out for your children, even the children that don’t exist yet. Try getting service like that at some dismal Chuck E. Cheese with stained carpet.
Of course, if something happens to your child, you can always sue. Which is more than you can do in the event your pharmacist decides he doesn’t want to commit a “pharma-sin” by filling your emergency contraception prescription, but I digress. While I’m not a mother myself (as long as my birth control works, ha ha!), it heartens me to know that should I ever choose to have children (or NOT choose and still have ’em, ha ha!), they are some places where they’ll always be welcome.
(Thanks to Gwen for some links.)
Just sent Target a “Dear, John” letter. I hope they change their policy soon, because quitting smoking and quitting Target all in one month is too much for one girl to handle.
Brilliant! I’ll have to keep this in mind, if goddess forbid, motherhood is ever forced upon me.
Oooh, I think I love you.
I sometimes forget that this isn’t my country because so much of the stuff I read is from the US. But I couldn’t help getting competely apoplectic about this. It’s actually illegal here for people to REFUSE to sell contraception!
Did you know that Plan B is available over the counter at all pharmacies across Canada, and does not need a doctor’s prescription?
Just thought I’d throw that out there.
You’ve definitely touched on a hot and important topic in the world of health care, Wendy. As a pharmacy student, it is definitely a subject that has been on my mind. Luckily, here in Washington state pharmacists have prescriptive authority and are able to not only dispense Plan B, but do so without a prescription. And if you think having to go to another pharmacy to get a prescription filled is a hassle, imagine being in a rural setting where there is no other pharmacist or other pharmacy and being denied. Although I enjoy the right not to dispense based on safety concerns I have little sympathy for a pharmacist that wants to deny birth control based on illogical reasoning and moral superiority. But rest assured, there are pharmacists (and future pharmacists) that are fighting the good fight from within.
Oh and by the way, ladies who read this, take birth control, and who have ample curves — you should discuss the recent studies correlating overweightness/obesity with a dramatically increased rate of birth control failure. A serious concern, in my opinion.
I just… I… um… want to have a witty comment, but I don’t. Mostly because this topic just leaves me speechless (kinda like the fact that the Anna Nicole case has made it to the Supreme Court). But, I totally agree with you, Wendy.
Wow! This is great! I’m posting this to my Mamas list, and we’re all going to hang out at the Target pharmacy with our preschoolers from now til the whether gets warm.(We’ll bring our own food and toys, of course; we’re not going to BUY anything there!) Thanks for the idea, Wendy.
Not only is Plan B available across Canada, where I live, a couple months ago, they had radio commercials for Plan B running every ten minutes or so.
Oh, come on, Spillwench. That is gonna be one funny-ass court opinion.
My best friend works as a pharmacist at “Le Target”–I was totally appalled (and shocked!)when he said that he respects his coworkers’ religious inclinations to not dispense Plan B. I’m still appalled. He seemed to have no concept of the above-mentioned “rural america” ramifications of this new corporate policy, and it scared the shit out of me because he’s so sensitive to other topics. Education, people, education.
Not to be a total dork, but that court opinion is actually going to be about a highly technical but very important issue – the scope of the probate exception to federal jurisdiction. In other words, was a federal appeals court correct when it ruled last year that only state courts have authority over disputed estates. SCOTUS won’t address the more salacious aspects of the case.
If only plan B had been around when some of my friends had incidents. There were would have been a lot less pain. I guess I’m going to have to stop shopping at target. After all, if they refuse to sell to their customers, their customers can refuse to buy.
I love this.
I have always been pro-choice and pro-reproductive rights, but I have become downright militant since I had my first child. I love my son with my whole heart. He was a wanted child from his moment of conception, and my husband and I were completely ready to become parents. Even so, there are days that I am ready to throw in the towel. Now that I know what it is to be a parent, I am even more fervently pro-choice–and, for heaven’s sake, pro-birth control.
And with that, I’m off to take my 2-year-old to the Target Pharmacy.
Ancrene Wiseass says
I heart you, Wendy. This post is just plain brilliant.
I understand it’s a joke, but I guess I just dont see it as funny. Bringing your kids to a pharmacy to wreak havoc, possibly when the pharmacist on duty WOULD serve Plan B? That just doesnt make sense. It makes the cause look stupid and annoying.
Letter-writing, boycotting, picketing– all much better options than disrupting business. Particularly when it affects customers and pharmacists who may not agree with their stores policy.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m mearly an underling at my store, I’d post a “Keep your brat in the stroller” sign, or perhaps a “Your gross stick fingers touch it you buy it.” Sign. And if it wasn’t for Choxie I’d quit Target, damn them and their deliciously bad for me chocolate.
Ummm, “Megan” I do believe she was being sarcastic here. And what an excellent job she did. I am just astounded by people who think that their personal opinions and beliefs should be forced on everyone, no matter what the consequences of those beliefs are on others. It’s not their life, it’s not their business, it’s their job, and if they have a problem with it, they should get another one.
Julie, why put my name in quotes? And didnt you ever hear it’s rude to start posts with “umm”? And did you miss the part where I said “I understand it’s a joke”? And do you really believe that everyone has the luxury of fully believing in all the policies of their workplace, that jobs are so easy to come by that if an issue is raised, they can just find another job easy as pie?
Megan, not to speak for Julie, but I know that my answer to the idea that this is a worker conscience thing is that a pharmacist is in a far different position than your average low-wage worker, for example. I would say that most pharmacists would have no trouble finding another job–it’s a high-demand position. Moreover, anyone who becomes a pharmacist does so knowing exactly what his or her job will be. It’s not like someone wakes up one morning, applies for a job as a pharmacist, and gets hired. It takes years of schooling–in other words, plenty of time to decide that your delicate sensibilities might be offended if you take a job in which you are required to provide medications prescribed to someone by their doctor. If a pharmacist didn’t want to do that, they got into the wrong line of work…
I think we should all implement the “this goes against my personal belief” policy in any professional situation. Imagine all the free time we would have if everyone simply refused to fill, review, grade, analyze, produce, or write anything based on this policy.
Life would be so much easier. No more grading papers on topics we don’t believe in like “shoot those bastard feral cats!” Baristas could refuse to make that Cambodian non-fat macchiato because they don’t believe in dairy, and so on. Yes, let’s just mesh our professional responsibility and personal beliefs into one big messy glob of refusals. Oh, what a wonderful life it would be!
I think there was some confusion– I was speaking to the pharmacists who would serve Plan B, but either cant because of the store’s policy or who can, but are still inconvenienced by Wendy’s proposal.
Ha, oh Tina, I know. I was just trying to have fun with some levity. I am, however, very much looking forward to reading the syllabus of the case and laughing my bottom off.
Carrie Ann says
Megan, here are some links that might help you understand where Wendy is coming from with this piece:
If you do know it’s not a serious proposal, why are you taking serious issue with the suggestions?
It might help to know that this “proposal” was in part a response to all the recent media coverage (especially here in Chicago) about the cultural clash between parents of small children and folks who feel that said parents are letting said children wreak havoc in public places. While I can see both sides, I couldn’t believe what a strong reaction it provoked in people, and I just liked the idea, obviously impractical as it is, of harnessing the power of children’s disobedience for the purposes of civil disobedience.
BTW, some hackles have been raised on more than one side of this discussion. I’m going to close this thread later on this week because I don’t think endless-back-and-forth is going to do anyone any good, regrdless of whether or not you agree or disagree with this entry or think it’s funny or not funny.
Thanks, Carrie Ann. I recognize the allusion. In fact, I took my senior honors English seminar in college on Swift.
I didn’t take her suggestion seriously– it was Meredith’s and Anatidaeling’s comments that I took seriously.
Wow! As serious as this topic is, I really got some great laughs from this post. And Tamara, I don’t know you, but cheers to your quitting smoking. Good luck.
I was kidding around, too. Well, partially. I did post the link to my Mamas list, but I didn’t really take my preschooler to Target. (We’re an urban family, and it’s really much more convenient to hang out at the neighborhood frou-frou coffee shop than it is to truck all the way to the suburbs to loiter at Target.)
Your article is great, but I must point out that if you wish to stop shopping at Target for this reason, you better count Walmart out also. (See Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices.) According wikipedia.com, the world’s largest rapist of free enterprise is not about to start selling Plan B. I also learned that it’s the GOP’s largest coroporate sponsor and not about to anger the force that grants it judicial sanctuary.
Wal-Mart has had a long tradition of dickhead policies, and the fact that they don’t carry Plan B is hardly a surprise. To be honest, I have far less hostility for Wal-Mart in this instance, since their so-called family values are well known enough to be part of their corporate identity, which means that you have a pretty good idea where they stand even before you get to the pharmacy counter. I’m more infuriated by Target, because their approach to this issue is disingenous and inconsistent.
But yes, Wal-Mart is stupid. Then again, shopping there, especially on Saturdays, can have decidedly contraceptive effects.
In California, some doctors and student health clinics, and probably planned parenthoods, will give you a prescription (or the actual medicine) for plan B ahead of time, for an extra back-up when they are dispensing another method of contraception. Then you can get it filled early, and have it on hand, just in case.
Also, university student health centers will sometimes fill non-students prescriptions, if all you have near you are Targets and Wal Marts…
At least Target carries Plan B. I had to call 3 different pharmacies to find one that had it in stock to fill a prescription I had. And this was in northern New Jersey, an area not known for a abortion-is-baby-killing god-save-your-soul mentality.
Oh, thank you so much for the laugh on two issues that have been bothering me lately.
That was beauty.
However, now I’m torn about Target. See, I’d heard Jerry Falwell apparently is doing some “Friend or Foe” campaign against stores that don’t support Christmas according to how he thinks they should, and Target’s on the list to be boycotted.
Anyone that annoys the evangelists is getting more of my business.
I’m sure that no one’s reading this anymore, Megan, but the issue is not so much pharmacists who would like to dispense Plan B but whose employers don’t carry it, as is the case with Wal-Mart. At least if you need Plan B you know in advance that you can’t get it at Wal-Mart. The problem is that Target *does* carry Plan B, but allows its pharmacists to unilaterally decide not to give it out if its against their “moral judgement”. As a customer, you have no way of knowing whether you’re going to be able to get your perscription filled until you actually get to the store and are publically called a whore or a baby killer by some guy in a white coat.
To me, it’s the equivalent of an Orthodox Jew or Muslim getting hired at a sandwich shop and then unilaterally deciding that they aren’t going to give out pork. If I want a ham sandwich, then I don’t go into a kosher deli, and I respect their right not to serve it. But you shouldn’t be able to apply to work for someplace knowing in advance that you might be called upon to dish out delicious pork and decide that you just aren’t going to do that part of your job.
PS Also, getting Plan B is a lot more important than getting ham. Just to be clear.
Blue Gal says
Linked at Blue Gal today and blogrolled, too. Thanks.
I am a pharmacist and a professor of pharmacy practice, and I have found this thread very interesting. I think part of the confusion comes from the disagreement on the two sides of the issue regarding ‘contraception’ and ‘abortifacient’. The religious right and its followers believe that the pregnancy begins at fertilization. Most of us ‘scientists’ believe that a pregnancy begins when the fertilized egg implants successfully in the endometrial lining. These are opinions, neither more or less valid than the other. What irks me is when pharmacists decide to dispense contraception but not emergency contraception. This is an unreasonable distinction. I also believe that pharmacies (as the employer) have every right to demand that pharmacists working for them will follow the policy of the store to dispense contraception (emergency or otherwise) given there is no therapeutic risk to the patient. I do believe very strongly however that this is not the place of government to mandate one way or another. Pharmacists are not clerks, we are healthcare professionals with the same rights as other healthcare professionals. Physicians and nurses are not mandated by law to perform or assist in abortions. But if the clinic wants to put it in their contract that performing such procedures is part of their job, then they should follow those policies. For those of you bashing pharmacists, remember that it has been through active campaigning of pharmacy groups that 5 states now allow pharmacists to dispense Plan B without a physician’s prescription (and we hope for more).
JC you wrote just what I was thinking about writting as I was reading everyones comments. I am also a pharmacist, and I work for Target.
I was shocked at first when we had our confrence call about thier new “Plan B policy”. I personaly feel it is none of my bussniess what a woman chooses to do with her own body. But just to set the record straight about Targets Plan B policy, here is what is required of The pharmacist who does not want to dispense Plan B:
1. They can not keep the prescription from the woman, nor can they insult or pass judgment on that woman.
2. They MUST (and here is a way to really annoy that pharmacist who chooses not to dispense Plan B)CALL other paharmacies in the area to help that woman get her prescription filled.
I feel if I let my personal belifes get in the way of filling prescriptions I would not be filling many at all. For example at my store I give out Morpine pills Actiq lolly pops and percocet by the bottle full and I know that I am just feeding an addiction. I have worked in stores where doctors have not only prescribed Ritalin for the children, but both parents as well!!
I do not want Plan B to go over the counter and I hope those of you who want to get a pack to keep “just in case”, do your homework about the side effects. Plan B is NOT birth control and I feel everyone shoud be counseld by a professional before a prescription is given to them.
I completely understand your stance on the issue. I belong to Saveroe.com and I sent a few general letters to Target about the issue. You summed it up nicely.