Nearly three years ago, I faced a "condom malfunction" with my boyfriend. Luckily, I was able to obtain emergency contraception from my local Planned Parenthood. If not, instead of becoming a college graduate, I could be working a couple of dead-end jobs and collecting welfare, with a child crying at my feet.
I hope some of your women readers will be inspired to become more active in fighting not only for their reproductive rights, but for all their rights as women.
Horrendous and cruel: You should be proud: This article is likely to inform enough women about emergency contraception to prevent a number of unintended pregnancies and unnecessary abortions. I hope publicizing the access crisis will help create public pressure to reverse this horrendous and cruel limitation of women's rights.
What I find most upsetting is that patients often aren't being given this basic yet critical information. And without it, they won't know they can try to find access elsewhere. That's so cruel, it breaks my heart.
Beliefs vs. rights: Bravo to Rebecca Meiser for exposing the difficulties women face in obtaining the morning-after pill. It's an incredible injustice when hospital staff and pharmacists let their personal beliefs take precedence over a woman's best interests. Women who face the prospect of an unwanted pregnancy should have every safe and legal option available to them, including contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion.
At Preterm, we give every woman a prescription for emergency contraception in her take-home packet and can provide it six days a week. Last year, more than 500 women came to our clinic specifically for emergency contraception, and they deserve support -- not censure -- for protecting themselves.
Executive Director, Preterm
Ignorant and unethical: Thank you for an informative article on one of the fundamental issues facing women of reproductive age. Not only are politicians failing women, so are medical personnel. Distortion of truth is expected from anti-choice politicians and spokesmen. What is intolerable is the ignorance and lack of ethical responsibility exhibited by pharmacists and some physicians.
Emergency contraception does not result in abortion. The pill is FDA-approved as being safe and effective. In fact, it reduces the necessity of even considering an abortion. Emergency contraception is a special combination of birth-control pills that, if administered within 120 hours, can prevent unintended pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, or contraceptive failure. The imposition of practitioners' personal religious beliefs to the detriment of patients' well-being is an insult to the medical profession.
Preventing unwanted pregnancies is responsible family planning. Responsible family planning and parenting of wanted children is the best way to prevent the physical and psychological abuse increasingly inflicted upon children in today's society.
Thank you for providing the true facts to women. We need more courageous and truly concerned individuals in the media, politics, and medicine to attain real compassion in this society.
Dr. Bettie L. Van Dyke
Five centers provide pills: Thanks so much to Rebecca Meiser for a great article about access to emergency contraception. Since emergency contraception could prevent thousands of abortions and unintended pregnancies, it is disappointing that hospitals are doing such a poor job of providing it -- and even of notifying rape victims that it is an option.
There are four Planned Parenthood centers open on Saturdays; I think the problem for the woman in the story was that it was a holiday weekend. You can walk into any of the five centers without an appointment any time they are open, which at most sites is six days a week. You can get the pills from the Planned Parenthood health centers without having to find a pharmacy that will fill a prescription. Check the website or call for hours.
Though the FDA-approved protocol for emergency contraception is 72 hours, subsequent studies have shown that it is fairly effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, so don't give up if you have passed the 72-hour window. But the sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
Mary O'Shea, Director of Public Policy
Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland
One Got Through
Good story, for a change: I'm a native son of Cleveland and a regular reader of Scene. I'm not sure why -- most of the articles are poorly written and lack appeal for more educated folks. But this one was absolutely hilarious and easy to follow ["Taming the Mighty Cuyahoga," July 13].
Everyone who grew up here should read this. You can tell you're not the product of our public schools. Bravo!
The date for Kasabian's show at the Grog Shop was incorrectly listed in last week's Scene. The show actually takes place on July 20.