May 042005

Two recent news stories have caused me to question how much we really value the equality of women in American. First, some pharmacists are now deciding that they don’t have to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. Let’s leave aside the validity of their :cough:medieval:cough: beliefs for the moment. They are refusing to fill a physician’s prescription for a federally approved drug. Pharmacists are professionally obligated to dispense prescriptions, with a couple narrowly defined statutory exceptions here in Minnesota. When a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription, that pharmacist is interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. Of course, this particular moral stance exclusively affects women. The underlying need for birth control pills may not even be related to reproduction, but the objecting pharmacist need not be bothered with such details. The pharmacist suddenly feels qualified to pass judgment on a complete stranger’s sexual habits and choices.
Americans love to pass judgment on women who are perceived as behaving badly. Look at the case of the woman who decided to skip out on her imminent wedding. As far as I know, it’s not a crime for a single woman to get on a bus and cross state lines. I’m sure it was upsetting to the family, but I think it’s ludicrous for the local DA to publicly mull whether he can bring any charges against the woman. After the woman returned, her fiance said that his only concern “was to get Jennifer well.” This quote bothers me because of its implication that she MUST have been crazy to not want to marry the guy. After all, women are impulsive, emotional, and unpredictable. Who knows why they do the things they do, right?
As someone with a disability, I have a passing familiarity with paternalism and condescension. And these stories smack of both. Unfortunately, the media turned the pharmacist issue into just another sideshow of the culture wars. Their coverage of the “runaway bride” was even more abhorrent for its voyeurism and almost Victorian undertones of disapproval. We may pay lip service to gender equality, but we aren’t even close yet.

  7 Responses to “The Fairer Sex”

  1. Mark, as for the runaway bride, you forgot to mention that she faked her own kidnapping, which no doubt contributed to the tenor of the coverage about her. She really didn’t seem to be an emotionally stable woman.

  2. thank you for the analysis– i think you are dead on. certainly the pharmacist thing is indicative of a very scary trend. just this morning i was thinking, “what’s next? will they stop selling pads and tampons and tell us to sequester ourselves during menstruation?”
    i have to admit that i have been waiting for the pro-lifers to turn their attention to birth control, because many birth control methods do not always prevent conception, and can also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. NARAL’s take on this is that they don’t think they’re going to overturn Roe v. Wade any time soon, so this is their new front of attack.
    The thing that gets me, though, is that the Bush administration is also apparently spreading misinformation through abstinence only school sex ed programs, and this misinformation discourages the use of condoms. I don’t even know how to parse that one. I guess they are trying to use fear to control the sexual impulses of teenagers.

  3. Well the “runaway bride” did tell the cops that she had been kidnapped when they initially interviewed her.

  4. The thing you have to understand about the runaway bride story is that she faked her own kidnapping which is a very serious thing. It is a crime. She is not merely being looked down upon because she got cold feet. You can’t just go around crying rape, or kidnap, or fire. Society becomes less safe when people do things like that, and it is costly in other ways as well.
    As far as the birth control issue is concerned, I think you are correct. Not every woman takes birth control pills for their “intended” purpose. Many women have found that the drug eases many painful, or otherwise debilitating menstrual symptoms and they take it for that purpose. Some people take Vicodin for recreation, rather than extreme pain. I don’t see how a pharmacist can judge somebody based on a drug. They just can’t possibly know why they are taking that drug.

  5. purichee

    Five four three two one happy day today

  6. purichee

    Five four three two one happy day today

  7. So some more of that “you will damn well give me what i WANT from your store and I don’t care what you think” and it doesnt seem to matter that there’s a bunch of other druggests within spitting distance but no you got to try and force your regressive ideas on everybody else– this is as bad or worse than as you call em “the fundys” ideas” mostly because you are trying to hide behind ridiculous laws and regulations brought in by the”useful fools” in our governments.
    But then common sense thinking has never been a strong point of the leftist feminist gueer movement!!

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