Many people are having sex despite—or because of—COVID restrictions on the rest of our lives. And over 99% of the world’s people having sex this weekend do NOT want to conceive. Fortunately, there are many ways to enjoy sex without unintentionally conceiving.
The first, of course, is to have sex without penis-vagina intercourse. If you never have “p-vi,” you’re covered.
For everyone else, there are many birth control options. Whatever you use, get extra supplies NOW (you smart people with IUDs that work perfectly for 10 years, go ahead and feel smug). Supply chains are fracturing everywhere, and long lines outside retail stores are increasingly common. No one knows what the new toilet paper and hand sanitizer will be—batteries? Diet coke? The spray that colors your gray roots?
These days, everyone is sick of being told what they can’t do. That will predictably lead to people doing small act of personal resistance—even if they’re potentially self-harming. I expect people will start biking without helmets, going to bed without brushing their teeth, and…having unprotected intercourse.
But COVID and our anti-science American government have NOT repealed the laws of gravity or bio-chemistry. Even if you’re suffering while having sex (lack of privacy, self-consciousness about your no-more-gym weight gain), you or your partner can still get pregnant. So birth control—or an increasing emphasis on oral sex, hand-jobs, and vibrators—is still mandatory.
Special shout-out to college students used to getting birth control at school: you’re home now for at least three more months, and you may not be going back to school until 2021. So if you use birth control, you need a new low-cost, non-judgmental supplier. NOW. If you have questions, just call your local Planned Parenthood office.
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So let’s say you have intercourse without birth control (or the condom breaks or you missed a few pills). Don’t just sit there feeling guilty (or depressed or defiant). And remember, neither hope nor prayer are contraceptive methods. We have centuries of data proving that.
You need emergency contraception. The “morning-after pill” works by preventing or delaying ovulation. And it can prevent fertilization if ovulation has already happened. Note: If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will NOT stop or harm the pregnancy–according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There is no factual basis for calling this an abortion pill.
Emergency contraception is available over-the-counter, without prescription. Don’t want to go to the counter? It’s available by mail.
Get it NOW. Because once you decide you need it, you have a tiny little window in which to take it—five days, max. With weekends and the current supply issues, it may be impossible to get in time. So get it now, and put it in your medicine chest (a good daily reminder to use birth control consistently) or, if you live with mom and dad (or you’re having an affair), your sock drawer. Order it legally by mail or phone; just google Emergency Birth Control for a dozen options.
Men, if you have p-vi, you should buy emergency contraception BEFORE you need it. It’s the cheapest insurance you’ll ever buy.
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So let’s say you gambled on intercourse without birth control (or your condom or diaphragm broke; maybe you ran out of birth control pills, or you couldn’t get a fresh round of contraceptive implants). And now you’ve missed your period (or your partner has). The window on emergency contraceptive has closed. And you want to end this pregnancy ASAP.
America is the most individualistic society on earth, pathologically so—witness demonstrations around the country of people with guns demanding the “freedom” to endanger themselves and others by going to bars and hairstylists in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic.
I can’t think of a more glaring exception to this “freedom at all costs” mentality than the demand of 50 million Americans to eliminate the access to abortion of 200 other million Americans. These 50 million people are well-funded by a religious and political machine that will say or do anything, no matter how morally bankrupt or logically inconsistent, to limit others’ freedoms. The anti-choice movement consistently calls birth control “abortion,” and fertilized eggs “children.” They say “murder” a lot. They lie in the service of “morality.”
And so if you live between the Mississippi and the Rockies you may have a lot of trouble finding a safe, legal clinic in which to have an abortion. And even in New York or Seattle your personal options may be limited. So you may do what women and couples have done since the beginning of time—get an illegal, dangerous abortion.
Or you can end your pregnancy with a new modern miracle—the safe, tested medications mifepristone and misoprostol. One blocks the effects of progesterone, so the lining of the uterus begins to break down; the other, taken 24 to 48 hours later, induces contractions of the uterus that expel its contents. Long used safely in Europe, both drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use up to 10 weeks.
You can get these pills through the mail. Get it NOW. Why? See above—supply chain issues. Political interference. The difficulty of doing anything while freaking out.
If you or your partner can get pregnant, you want this in your medicine chest (or sock drawer). For more on getting safe, legal abortion pills by mail, see the heroic work of the women behind Plan C.
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It’s really too bad that birth control and abortion have been political and culturally ghettoized as “women’s issues.” If there’s something more important to a man than not conceiving a child unintentionally, I can’t think of what it is.
And “pro-life?” That’s what I’d call someone who wants to empower people, rich and poor alike, to control their fertility–and therefore their children’s future. Pro-life people would also fund sophisticated day-care programs and health care for everyone.
And they’d refuse to go to a church or crowded beach right now because they’d be protecting strangers and friends from coronavirus. No mask in public? You’re not pro-life.