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Revenge on Emergency Contraception

 

By Ambra Nykol

 

 

October 11, 2006

 

There are numerous philosophies that surround the morality of birth control. There are some who are staunchly opposed to birth control in all of its forms. Less than a decade ago, this meant condoms, birth control pills and everything in between.

 

There is a significant debate going on amongst those who feel that even "the pill" is both unhealthy and a hindrance to the body's natural process.

 

These people prefer natural methods of birth control, and usually have upwards of 13 children. More power to them. Today, I'm not entirely interested in that debate because I think it to be a matter of personal conviction between a couple (ahem, a married couple) and God.

 

I bring this up because birth control has expanded to include the "morning after pill", a last minute attempt to end a would-be pregnancy. Many qualify this as a step further than contraception, but few if any pro-life groups have gone as far as to call it abortion because there is currently no way to know if fertilization has occurred so soon after intercourse.

 

But I'll tell you what I call it - another reason for people to be sexually reckless.

 

Back in 1999, Wal-Mart caused a stir when they decided that their national retail chain of stores would not sell "Preven" (the morning after drug) in any of their pharmacies. They cited it as a business decision. Immediately thereafter, family planning advocates (read: Planned Parenthood) were up in arms. Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood was noted as saying:

 

"Pharmacies have a moral obligation to provide health care to women, and frankly, emergency contraception prevents unintended pregnancies...There are many tens of millions of women of reproductive age in this country. Meeting their needs is an extremely good business decision."

 

Strong-arming Wal-Mart into carrying yet another contribution to our society's casual sex philosophy didn't seem to work. And since then, there have been many privately owned pharmacies that have chosen not to carry the "morning after pill". One pharmacy in particular, owned by Lloyd Duplantis in Gray, Louisiana, has chosen not to carry any type of contraception.

 

Not too long ago, "Lloyd's Pharmacy" as it's called, made the news when a woman got upset because she couldn't get her birth control prescription filled. Duplantis, who is the president of "Pharmacists for Life International" told CBS cameras:

 

"I don't sell condoms. I don't sell foams. I don't sell creams. I don't sell anything to do with contraception."

 

  

Tina Fineberg for The New York Times
In Harlem, New York, Helena Bell, left, and Tamika Smith discuss Plan B, soon to be available without a prescription.

 

There are many who may take issue with Duplantis for being so extreme in how he runs his business. After all, even most married couples use some form of contraception. But there is something admirable in the fact that Duplantis wants to run his business according to the principles on which he stands.

 

We will all be held accountable to our consciences and as a privately owned pharmacy, Duplantis is certainly within his rights to stock whatever drugs he sees fit.

 

Whatever your feelings on contraception, there is a certain reality at work in our society. We live in a murky culture full of sexual compromise and meaningless sex. The condom industry isn't racking up sales from Mr. & Mrs. Johnson; they're racking up sales from teenagers and adults who are having sex with multiple partners.

 

Remember the "urban" condom that was directly targeted to young people?

 

Not too long ago, the pharmaceutical company "Barr Laboratories" sought the US government’s  approval to make "Plan B" (another version of the morning after pill) available over the counter. The reason they did this was to get it into the hands of those unable to easily get a prescription.

 

Read between the lines and the agenda is quite clear. Get them hooked early, and get them hooked young.

 

The reality is that the people most worried about an unwanted pregnancy are the ones who are unmarried and uncommitted. This is not to say that married couples don't worry, but the threat is certainly significantly greater with the person you just met last night at the club versus your own spouse.

 

In the case of Lloyd Duplantis, he feels that supplying contraceptives only supports a greater problem we have in our society and that's the abundance of pre-marital sex.

 

I feel it important to paint this issue with the right brush because the media will distort things to make the actions of Duplantis and others who've followed suite seem antiquated and discriminatory.

 

No matter what your birth control philosophy, one has to admit that our society needs more people like Lloyd Duplantis to take a hard stance and counter the culture. It makes us think. It sends a message not just concerning birth control, sex, and pregnancy, but also concerning how closely our "work" should be tied with our beliefs.

 

There is a lot of compromise going on even among those who call themselves "Christians" and it certainly is refreshing to see someone put their convictions into action--even if it means bad press.

 

Ambra Nykol is a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Soundpolitics.com, Seaspot magazine and Modestly Yours. She blogs at nykola.com

 

Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

 

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