Extremist doctors: Saving women from the anguish of sluttiness

USA Today has an article about conscience clause legislation – laws that, among other restrictions, allow pharmacists and health care workers to deny women access to birth control pills if it goes against the pharmacist’s religion. It’s your run-of-the-mill piece, but this quote from Dr. Michele Phillips just killed me.

“I’m not going to give any kind of medication I see as harmful,” said Phillips of San Antonio. The drugs would not protect her patient from “emotional trauma from multiple partners,” Phillips reasoned, or sexually transmitted diseases. “I could not ethically give that type of medication to a single woman.”

Wowza.
Via Feminists for Choice.

and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

46 Comments

  1. Brittany
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Multiple partners causes emotional trauma?
    Sounds like a fun weekend to me, personally.
    Kidding…or am I?

  2. anjali_k
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Yet she can ethically deny giving me, a single woman, birth control, therefore causing me to be virtually incapacitated and confined to my bed for a good 3 days each month, in indescribable pain??!!

  3. Brittany
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I had one of my ovaries removed because it had cysts on it via a tumor in my tummy that they also removed in the same surgery, along with my appendix that the tumor agitated. Only the tumor would have needed to have been removed if the doctors at the ER had diagnosed my excruciating stomach pains as something other than period pain. (Period pain? Seriously? Apparently if a girl is in pain it obviously has to due with pregnancy or her period.) Their misdiagnosis almost killed my via a ruptured appendix. The doctors think I got the tumor because my mom smoked while she was pregnant.
    But anyway, to the point of my ramble…
    Now I only get my period every 3 months. :-) It was actually kind of a godsend since I don’t want kids either! It also made my mom appreciate sisterhood, since she had been a catty, competitive woman before that. But as I was going into surgery and the doctors were having issues controlling my bleeding, she was comforted not by the nurses nearby, but by the workers in the hospital cafeteria, whom became her best friends and actually made her enroll there, where she’s now currently working.

  4. Brittany
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Bah *has to do with pregnancy
    *almost killed me
    I wish there was a way to edit my posts, lol. These fat fingers of mine.

  5. cfin
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not going to give any kind of medication I see as harmful”
    Not that her argument was sound in the first place but technically arent most, if not all, medications possibly harmful?

  6. vegkitty
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    This is so irritating.
    You know what might be awesome? If BC could become OTC. I don’t know what the repercussions of that would be, but it seems like a great way to circumvent this whole conscience clause crap which, honestly, seems to be going nowhere fast.

  7. Channing
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Wait… Did I read this right? The medication is harmful because it DOESN’T protect women from the emotional trauma of multiple partners?
    Isn’t this holding our drugs to a logically fallacious standard? Is Celestra harmful because it doesn’t make me bulletproof? Are Breathe-Rite strips harmful because they don’t call my dad and apologize on my behalf for last Thanksgiving? Is vitamin C harmful because I’ll still be mortal after taking it?
    Is this pharmacist native to our universe’s worldline? I want to see a birth certificate. If she tells us that a birth certificate is useless because it doesn’t document all the people who weren’t born, then something’s definitely up.

  8. Tom
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I Liked this comment.

  9. borrow_tunnel
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    If there’s going to be a conscience clause then it ought to be null if someone claims that they’re using the pill for acne. That way everyone can lie and doctors will have no way of telling who is being truthful.

  10. baddesignhurts
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    ***sigh***
    sometimes i wish it was illegal to be a dumbass.

  11. anjali_k
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    period every 3 months?? luckyyyyy
    lol
    Well I suppose I could just go on Seasonale for that…oh well..Alesse is treating me just fine though. My period only lasts for 2-3 days and there’s NO pain whatsoever :)
    man I really feel sorry for the girls who get denied this :S It’s so easy for me to get it. I get it for free from health services on my campus, via my student plan.

  12. Sex Toy James
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Can we take this foolishness further? Can conscience now be rationalized as an excuse for all kinds of behavior?
    “I’m sorry that I could not in good conscience let that pharmacist suffer from his delusions of ethical behavior. I had to administer 3000cc of smacking to his face immediately in order to treat the problem. He may need further treatments. It’s a good thing that I was there at the time. There’s no telling what might have happened had I not spotted the symptoms and been able to administer immediate treatment.”
    If we’re giving legal credibility to twisted rationalizations then it’s just a matter of time before the law can no longer touch me.

  13. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    And once again, there is no outcry or concern over “slutty” males. It’s only WOMEN who suffer emotional trauma for being “sluts.”
    *rolls eyes*

  14. MLEmac28
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Silly Feminists
    The reason BC is harmful is because once a woman starts taking it, her sexual partners will multiply by 3. So BC actually causes emotional trauma. Because no woman ever actually WANTS more than 1 partner at a time (her husband, duh).
    If the woman doesn’t have BC and gets pregnant anyway, she’ll only have emotional trauma if she has an abortion, so long as she gives birth to the child, she’ll always be happy.
    It’s okay, I you guys have too many female hormones to think straight. There’s a drug that could help that, but due to my personal religious beliefs I can’t give it to you.

  15. Kim C.
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    “Because no woman ever actually WANTS more than 1 partner at a time (her husband, duh).”
    Ar-are you saying that porn has LIED to me? :(

  16. Brittany
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Don’t you know? It’s -natural- for men to spread their seed.
    I was having a debate with a guy over why mediocre-looking men were choosy with the looks of the girls they were going after, and refused to date overweight or “flawed” women when they weren’t exactly Mr. Universe themselves. This was his quote “It’s natural for men to be choosy; a man’s desire for a beautiful mate stems back to primitive times, when beautiful meant healthy and good genes. Women, however, spread their legs for whatever is deemed attractive by the media at the time. So a man’s pickiness is natural, and a woman’s is detrimental to the species.”
    I stared at him for a good minute before he said “…What?”

  17. Kim C.
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, you’d think that this pharmacist would say the same of condoms, especially since they serve no other purpose (..unless you’re out of balloons?) whereas birth control can be used to regulate periods, ovarian cysts, etc.

  18. Kim C.
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    “So a man’s pickiness is natural, and a woman’s is detrimental to the species.”
    He is aware of the fact that women, in carrying a child for nine months, undergoing labor, feeding and caring for the child for years (especially so in the earlier years, when they’re breastfeeding), as compared to men, who simply go “splut” and are done with it, have WAY more cost associated with reproduction? In terms of creating a child, the man’s involvement is 10 minutes or less: the woman’s is nine months, and a “fun” nine months it is.
    So his argument is, well, kind of backward, biologically speaking.

  19. Marj
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    ….wow.
    Realistically, wouldn’t it be the other way around? The more women a man impregnantes, the better the chance of some living to reproduce. But a woman can only carry one man’s child at a time, so she’s not going to want to waste that time and energy on a sub-standard mate.
    Honestly, this doesn’t even make sense using his own logic. If a man is choosy it’s because he wants a good mate, but if a woman is choosy it’s because…? I’m getting a headache just trying to work this out.

  20. ikkin
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Exactly!

  21. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to guess that he’s some kind of an ugly loser over-compensating for his fugliness. U know, trying to make excuses why women won’t go after him so he pretends that HE has to be picky about choosing females.

  22. frolicnaked
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    The only time I’ve had trauma from multiple partners was when we all tried to pile into the bed at one time.
    Too many elbows = bruising in unsexy places.

  23. Lilith Luffles
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    How is this lady aware of how many partners the pill takers have? And how is she so sure that a single woman is sleeping with bunches of men? Isn’t it possible for a woman to take it to lessen PMS? What about women between boyfriends who want to stay on the pill in case a new lover comes into her life? So many questions to ask…

  24. jellyleelips
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I recommend Lo Estrin 24 Fe to whoever will listen. I had pretty annoying spotting for the first four months on that pill, but since then (four more months) I haven’t had a period AT ALL. And I don’t even skip the placebos! It’s magical. And, not having gut-punching cramps that arrive without warning is also nice :)

  25. hellotwin
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    This is why I love feministing…I hit “like” on so many of these comments…you all keep me entertained and optimistic.

  26. jellyleelips
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    HA :)

  27. hellotwin
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    This is why I love feministing…I hit “like” on so many of these comments…you all keep me entertained and optimistic.

  28. hellotwin
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Gah! Double posts!

  29. prettyinpink
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    No no no no no. As much as I am totally in favor of the pill and hormonal contraceptives in general, Rx is the only way to do it safely. There are MANY contraindications that exist for the pill making it something that doctors should prescribe. For example, I have epilepsy and the only hormonal contraceptive I could really do on my medicine is depo. When I went on the pill, the gyno was negligent and prescribed it to me despite the warnings not to (discovered later, thnx) and I had a huge seizure- found out my med levels were half what they should be.
    Long story, but anyway- synthetic hormones can have all kinds of effects and contraindications with different medications. Given that so many women are already on medications the doctor should be the one helping her decide what (if any) hormonal contraceptive will be best for her.

  30. prettyinpink
    Posted October 26, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Nature says it is the other way around. Men’s sperm are many, Girl’s eggs come one at a time. Females get to choose. That is why the males are so much more colorful and stuff, because the colors often reflect how healthy he is (contributes good genes), and why they are willing to fight each other over her (reflect how strong he is). You see this in humans all the time. So, very little to suggest that natural patterns would have men as limiting factors. Tell that guy he is full of shit.

  31. baddesignhurts
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    i’m epileptic, too, and i had a similar problem this summer. the pill i was using worked on the same liver receptor as the anti-seizure meds i take, and they screwed up each others’ levels in my bloodstream. ended up having too much testosterone, of all things, which the doctor says is responsible for the fact that i gained a whole cup size this summer and had some truly bizarre rash.
    birth control pills are faboo, and are relatively safe, but some people can’t take certain kinds, and some have more risks, etc, which is why i believe they need to stay prescription-only.

  32. prettyinpink
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    Hey, do you take Lamictal? Just curious. That is the one I take and it does use the same receptor which increases the rate of clearance. Although I didn’t hear the testosterone theory.

  33. eva_g
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    In case overturning the conscience clause is too unlikely, a good goal for activism would be making it mandatory FOR THE DOCTOR to disclose upfront that he or she is invoking the conscience clause.
    As a patient, I deserve to know immediately if my health care provider lets his or her religious beliefs overrule the medical training, much in the same manner as I’d want to know if my doctor routinely applies leeches.

  34. Fairbetty
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I wonder if the pharmacy where this guy works sells condoms?

  35. LisaCharly
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Ugh, Loestrin FE made me miserable. I would wake up in the middle of the night with cramps so bad they made me dry-heave, burst out with acne, had crying binges and mood swings, body pain…Lessina/Aviane for me!
    I think that what works for one woman doesn’t always work for the next, and vice versa, cannot be overstated enough. We have different body chemistries, and I’m so glad you found one that works for you and I found one that works for me.

  36. Nicole
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. So BC is harmful because it won’t protect me from “emotional trauma from multiple partners and sexually transmitted diseases?”
    Wow, so I guess Viagra is harmful too. And Advil. And Neo Citran. Jeez, what isn’t harmful? Valium? Well, that won’t cover the STD’s, but might help with the Post-Sex Stress Syndrome.

  37. Nicole
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    James for the win.

  38. baddesignhurts
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    nope. i take tegretol. i’m supposed to take keppra but i can’t afford it.

  39. Margarita
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Ironically, this appears next to the Mad Men recap on the home page. In the very first episode of the series, Peggy gets a prescription for the pill and her doctor tells her that he’ll take her off it if he thinks she’s using it as an excuse to be a slut. I dismissed it as a disgusting 1960s thing (and I think the series intended it to be shocking). Nice to know how far we’ve come.

  40. Hershele Ostropoler
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Hm. I’m taking two medications that don’t protect me from a broken heart (though you could make a case for the anticoagulant). Should the pharmacist not fill them on that basis?

  41. mysticapple
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    This argument seems so much more complicated than it needs to be. Image someone on the board who approves medications decided something was immoral or would cause emotional trauma? How on earth is it right that they could refuse to approve the medication.
    It’s like people can’t see the wood for the trees here. The big picture is that the pill is safe to use, from a scientific point of view. Therefore pharmacists and any other medical person should not be given the power to choose for someone else based on their personal objections. If they don’t like the pill, then they can just not take it themselves.
    I remember when I started studying for nursing one of the women said she didn’t want to have to touch a mans penis at any stage of her nursing. She felt that as a married woman it would go against her morals and against her religious views. She was told that in becoming a nurse she was also accepting that she would care for *everyone* however they needed to be cared for. It’s that simple.

  42. Steveo
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I have wondered what solution would work for this problem that wouldn’t have far reaching consequences in other areas. I don’t think you can just eliminate the “conscience clause” without it then being applied in other unrelated areas (lawyers always seem to do this) even though it should be common sense.
    But I really like this idea. Any doctor or pharmacist should be forced to put in public display if they have ever denied prescribing, or selling something to a patient based on their personal beliefs. I would guess and hope that people who were ridiculous like this would go out of business pretty quickly. And, it has no other unwanted consequences that I can see. Now, I wonder if my optimism of humanity is unfounded or not???

  43. Steveo
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I have wondered what solution would work for this problem that wouldn’t have far reaching consequences in other areas. I don’t think you can just eliminate the “conscience clause” without it then being applied in other unrelated areas (lawyers always seem to do this) even though it should be common sense.
    But I really like this idea. Any doctor or pharmacist should be forced to put in public display if they have ever denied prescribing, or selling something to a patient based on their personal beliefs. I would guess and hope that people who were ridiculous like this would go out of business pretty quickly. And, it has no other unwanted consequences that I can see. Now, I wonder if my optimism of humanity is unfounded or not???

  44. jellyleelips
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Ugh that’s terrible! I had my bad pill experience with Ortho Tri Cyclen lo. I was depressed in a dark cloud for weeks and it didn’t occur to me for a while that it could be the pill. I’m sorry you had that crappy experience, but I’m glad you found a good pill :)
    And yep, you can’t say it enough that what works for one woman is awful for the next. Too bad people don’t realize this, and think “birth control pill” simply means “slut pill” and can’t grasp the nuances of usage or the choices women make.

  45. rogo88
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    This comment FTW! First thing they teach you in Pharmacology!

  46. Posted October 25, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t take birth control because I sleep around (although I do think that sex is perfectly fine between consenting adults redardless of marital status). I take birth control because my ovaries don’t release their eggs properly, and I have gone many painful months without having a period when I didn’t take birth control. I never knew when I would get my period, how heavy or painful it would be, how much control I would have over my emotions – it was Russian roulette, every single week, of every single month, of every single year. It was exhausting! I take a very low dose of Sprintec now, and have a light, easy-to-handle period every month with little to no PMS symptoms. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders – or maybe I should say from my belly!

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

256 queries. 1.000 seconds