Saturday, November 26, 2005

The enduring sketchiness of Duane Reade

Molly's onto something. I already knew my local Duane Reade was sketch city--a group of guys were once cheerfully (I want to think jokingly) discussing--with one of the (female) cashiers--the possibility of gang-raping a woman or disposing of her body--but the options are limited enough that Monsieur Reade got my vote when deciding what I'll choose as my local pharmacy. While there just now, I heard one of the pharmacists/assistants conversing with a voice on speakerphone--a woman giving her date of birth, her last name, the spelling of her last name... and then the pharmacist/assistant asked the woman if she needed anything other than birth control. Um, a little privacy, maybe? Is that what happens when you call things into Duane Reade? Couldn't the pharmacist have at least used the technical name for whichever method the woman on the other end needed? I don't think birth control is anything to be embarassed about, wish it were available more cheaply and with less hassle to all, but does "Ms. X" really need to be put in a situation where she unwittingly announces to all of Duane Reade that she's on the Pill or similar?

Relatedly, this ethical conundrum's been on my mind for a while now, and it relates, so here goes:

Let's say a woman walks into a pharmacy to fill her prescription for the Pill. Turns out she gets one of those social-conservative pharmacists who won't give it to her. This is their conversation:

Woman: I'd like to fill this prescription.
Pharmacist: Sorry, that goes against my religion, I cannot provide it.
Woman: But I need it for health reasons.
Pharmacist: That's what they all say.
Woman: Seriously, health reasons only.
Pharmacist: How could I possibly believe that?
Woman: I'm a lesbian.

What happens next? Would she get the prescription? Surely no matter how wrong a social conservative considers homosexuality, there's no moral reason to prevent a lesbian who is truly taking the Pill for health reasons from taking it, unless the pharmacist believes that a) the woman might get raped, and all life is sacred, ergo... or b) she may well have a change of heart and become ex-gay before the month is over.


Anonymous said...

mr. reade is french. you are so right.
- molly

Tony Comstock said...

It's taking the pill to avoid becoming pregnant a "health reason"? I'm not saying this to be contrary, and I think you're making an excellent point.

But I think the fact that we'd use wording that differenciates taking oral contraceptives to avoid pregnancy from any of the other "health reasons" a woman might need them for speaks volumes about sex is regarded, not just by the lunitic fringe of the far right, but by society at large.

In large measure, sexual pleasure is seen an indulgence, a guilty pleasure, and something we're not completely entitled to rather than an integrated part of a happy, wholesome, and healthy life.