Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Birth control

About a year ago I was frustrated with the hoops I had to jump through just to get a birth control prescription for something I had taken for the better part of 3 years. I wasn’t having unprotected sex, it wasn’t really an issue, so I went off birth control. Recently I decided to get back on for a variety of reasons, but discovered that despite having both health and prescription coverage, no history of high blood pressure, no history of STIs or abnormal paps, a recent (less than year old) medical exam on file, and not smoking I could not easily obtain birth control.

My student health center required me to make a “women’s” appointment which was not available until June. The health center that provides my primary care required “family planning counseling” before they would refer me to a OB/GYN for an exam and a prescription — this is a multi week process requiring and the counseling basically assumes I am not capable of making my own decisions about my body. Finally I made an appointment with a women’s community clinic, but their earliest appointment was in mid-May, about a week after my next period so that I would lose a month waiting for the app. and a second month waiting to start the pill.

Fed up with the system and certain that there is another option I called my student health center again and requested a family planning appointment. Again I was told that one was not available until June. Then I tried something new — using my best Russian accent, my immigrant background, and my very best scared little girl voice I explained that my boyfriend hates condoms and I am very very scared of getting pregnant. I was transfered immediately to Urgent Care.

The Urgent Care nurse who answered started with “it’s ok honey” and then told me about how my boyfriend can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do. In case he already had, she told me I should come in on Thursday of next week (one week from the day I called) to take a pregnancy test and talk about my “options.” She then confirmed that this would be before I expect my next period so that I can start birth control right away. She explained Family Pact, a California family planning provision that would provide me with free birth control if I’m not pregnant and prenatal and maternity care if I am, and said someone would meet me 15 minutes before my appointment to help me fill out the forms. Did I need a Russian speaker to help me? No, I think I can do this in English. Can I avoid unprotected sex until next Thursday? Yes, I’ll try to do just that.

Did I lie? No, not outright. I am a non-native English speaker. I do have a low income because I am a graduate student. I am sleeping with someone who dislikes condoms, and I am scared of becoming pregnant. I never said I was having unprotected sex or that my boyfriend had done anything beyond disliking condoms in some abstract fashion. But did I misrepresent my socioeconomic background? Oh hell yes.

When I was presenting as organized, composed, articulate, and safe I was unable to get an important medication for at the earliest one month and was asked to pay between $15 and $60 per month for it. When I presented as victim, scared, unsafe, and a non-native English speaker I was able to get an appointment on one week turnaround and free access to the medication I need.

Is it just me, or is this messed up?

Written by kinkinexile

April 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Posted in personal, safer sex

4 Responses

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  1. It is both messed up and highly amusing. Now you have another reason for adopting a Russian accent besides strange men hitting on you on the street and you having to go “Sorry, no English”.

    Ms. Ava Blue

    April 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

  2. Dude, that’s totally fucked up. But then again, the only reason I managed to get on BC in the first place was because I had an ovarian disorder which required BC to regulate my cycle and keep me from ovulating (which FUCKING HURTS). And while I was not sexually active at the time (I was about 14, 15) I then became a whore in the eyes of my mother. Oddly enough, I lost my v-card when I was 19, after much thought and preparation, and it was a relatively good experience.

    Wendy Blackheart

    April 23, 2009 at 10:43 pm

  3. FPACT is *wonderful* and is available to all California residents, and Planned Parenthood will set you up with it on their initiative should your initial patient intake questionnaire even hint at your eligibility, regardless of race/ethnicity or other markers of class. I think mainly the issue was the university health service’s reading of you as a “normal” middle-class patient and the unwillingness of the university to spontaneously offer FPACT with that initial reading of your situation in place.


    May 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  4. Eurosabra, I’m not sure that the university health service read me as normal in regards to FPACK though. The problem was that they wouldn’t even give me an appointment if I wasn’t on fire. On the other hand once I got in they were very nice about offering me FPACK helping with the paperwork, and giving me a “goodie bag” with condoms and lube as part of the sign-up process.


    May 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm

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