02/12/2014 10:19 am ET | Updated Feb 12, 2014

America's Plan B Problem: The Contraception Misinformation Epidemic

Brian Brainerd via Getty Images

In spring 2005, at the not-so-tender age of 26, I was on the receiving end of my first (and only) condom malfunction. The incident sent me into a frenzied state of paranoia that had me up all night and found me and my partner bleary-eyed early the next morning at the university emergency clinic in my town, in desperate need of some emergency contraception. This was during the days of the Bush administration, before Plan B — more popularly known back then as the “morning after pill” — was available over the counter. To get it required a prescription and to get a prescription usually required a medical appointment and examination.

In order for me to get Plan B, I had to have a pelvic exam and then sit there while a well-meaning but patronizing nurse subjected me to a speech on how to properly use a condom, complete with a step-by-step demonstration involving a plastic speculum. I was well into my 20s and had used condoms countless times without any problem (as I told the nurse before she launched on her lecture). But sometimes condoms break, which is when Plan B comes in handy. That is, if you can actually get your hands on it.

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