When your scented candle kindles your curtains, you don't run out and buy a fire extinguisher. When accosted on the street, you don't pop into the 7-Eleven for some pepper spray. These are things you keep at hand, precisely because they're for emergencies.
Now doctors are making the same case for emergency contraception. As Rebecca Traister reported here yesterday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has launched the "Ask Me" campaign to encourage OB-GYNs to ask women of childbearing age if they'd like a prescription for a reserve of Plan B, just in case. It's also to let women know that they don't have to wait for the emergency to roll around in order to do the asking. (See PDF of promotional posters here.)
Here's more: According to today's Chicago Tribune, the drive represents "organized medicine's most aggressive effort yet to ensure women have access to emergency contraception when they think they need it."
To be sure, some doctors have been doing this on their own for years. And, of course, advance prescriptions do not directly address the problem of balky pharmacists, or of women who simply don't have doctors; the fight must continue on other fronts, such as securing over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. But pre-prescriptions certainly buy time, reduce freakout and demonstrate commitment to women's real health needs.
Plus: While advance prescriptions are perfectly legal, given the current climate, I salute ACOG's chutzpah. I bet that around the office, the secret nickname for "Ask Me" is "Screw You." As in, "Hey, FDA, you can knock yourselves out opposing over-the-counter access. Our patients already have their pills in the cabinet."