When Plan B fails, what's Plan C?

As intrepid blogger BB has found, emergency contraception isn't much good if it comes too late.

Published October 9, 2006 6:00PM (EDT)

A couple of weeks ago we recounted the hurdles blogger BB of Den of the Biting Beaver encountered in her quest for urgently needed emergency contraception. BB did eventually find a clinic that would dispense Plan B, but she worried that the delays she faced would reduce the drug's efficacy. And not without cause: On Friday, BB wrote that she is now pregnant.

Publicizing her ordeal has let BB in for a pretty shocking deluge of hateful spew, from pseudo-helpful blaming of the "if you didn't want to get pregnant you should have had E.C. in hand before having sex" variety to threats of the violent and misogynistic variety. In a recap of the debacle, BB wrote, "Since the start of this I have been told repeatedly that I didn't deserve to live. I had a commenter tell me that if they ever met me they would rape me repeatedly before torturing me and murdering me in the most painful way they could ... I have been called a 'filthy cum drinking whore who should do everyone a favor and stop breathing.' I have had emails sent to me in the guise of having helpful tips to cause a miscarriage but which really suggested lethal herbs. I have been given death threats, I have been called a murderer and I can't even count the number of times I've been called a whore or a slut."

Sure, emergency contraception is a hot-button issue for lots of people, particularly misinformed and willfully ignorant people who equate it with abortion (and believe the punishment for abortion should be abuse of the vilest kind). But it's still startling to see how quickly critics drop hate on a woman for having the nerve to have sex, while, in BB's words, "the penis which was actually attached to the condom apparently becomes utterly invisible." It's startling that, in this construction, women's lives are worth less than their fetuses, even though those fetuses couldn't survive without women to gestate them. And it may not be startling that a woman's reasoned assessment of whether she can provide for or otherwise manage a child (or another child) means zilch, but it is truly unfortunate. BB is refreshingly, scathingly uninhibited on this point: "I resent this fetus. I resent the fuck out of the fact that something which is 1/16 of an inch long and which looks amazingly like a reptile trumps the life of a woman and her three children. I resent that this glob of cells which is smaller than a wad of snot is clearly valued more than the life of a 34-year-old woman who is trying like hell to support her existing kids."

The upshot of this maddening story is that, having failed to get E.C. in time, BB is now scraping together the cash for an abortion. (We've said it before and we'll say it again: E.C. is not abortion -- E.C. prevents abortions!) For anyone who would like to pitch in, Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has pointed out that BB has a PayPal account (check the Biting Beaver site for more info). But she also noted that "if you want to continue giving financially in this direction, there are thousands upon thousands of women in this country that need abortions [every] year and don't have the money to pay for them. In order to help them, many states have abortion-access funds, and you better believe that they need all the money they can get." Marcotte helpfully provided links to the National Network of Abortion Funds and its list of individual abortion funds.

BB deserves a big shout-out for bravely speaking up about this miserable situation and remaining uncowed in the face of so much misplaced vitriol. If you'd like to send some good wishes her way, go here.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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