In Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive rights, Angela Davis argued that the birth control campaign carried strong racial and classist undertones and excluded women of colour and lower socioeconomic status. Since Davis’ article, access to birth control has improved significantly and but it comes with new issues and concerns.
One of the recent innovations in birth control is Plan B, the “morning-after pill,” which helps reduce the probability of conception if taken within 72h of unprotected sex. This pill is readily available at most pharmacies for about $50 and through many healthcare providers at a discount. However, this accessibility has resulted in an abuse of what is meant to be an emergency contraceptive. At one point, every New York City pharmacy was out of Plan-B and one blasé friend pointed out that until prices are raised to a point where she no longer has easy access, Plan B will continue to be her choice of oral contraceptive. In a controversial article, blogger Cat Marnell echoed this sentiment, adding that she’s too inconsistent for birth control and not sexually active enough for condoms.
However, this abuse is only feasible within a certain income bracket. Abuse of Plan B can only occur if one can afford it. For those in a lower income bracket, however, $50 remains a sizable price tag. In fact, even though Plan B may be a more essential service for them due to the safety of their neighbourhoods or their lack of access to consistent birth control, Plan-B abuse such as the one in NYC could cut off access to them in their greatest hour of need, and we see, once again, a dynamic between the classes.