You got a Plan C?

CVS Refuses To Sell Texas Man Emergency Contraception For His Wife, Suggests He’s A Rapist

A Texas man has enlisted the ACLU to help him sue CVS for gender discrimination after a pharmacist refused to sell him emergency contraception.

Jason Melbourne had already visited four pharmacies in search of Plan B for his wife when he was referred to a CVS in Mesquite, Texas, some 15 miles away from his home. They had one box left:

But when he finally got there, the overnight pharmacist, Minni Matthew, told Melbourne she wasn’t going to sell it to him.

In order for him to buy the meds, the pharmacist said, she’d need to talk to and see the ID of his wife, who was at home with their two young children. He asked why, and she pointed to the fine print on the medication’s box, which says it can only be sold to someone age 17 or older. Melbourne pointed out that he was well over 17.

“I’ve bought this plenty of times in my life, and it’s never been a problem,” he said. “Are you telling me every other place I’ve bought it from has been wrong?”

Didn’t matter, Matthew said, since the medicine obviously wasn’t for him.

“Why don’t you show me the law that says you can’t sell this to a man?” Melbourne replied.

The situation got worse from there. Melbourne put his wife on the phone and even Googled the medication to show the pharmacist there was no law against selling it to a man. But “she didn’t want to see it,” he said.

That’s when a male pharmacy technician informed Melbourne that they didn’t want to sell emergency contraception to men because they might be giving it to “rape victims.”

Jezebel notes that Melbourne’s ordeal happened around the same time that a Houston CVS store refused to sell another man Plan B. CVS apologized for that last month, calling it an “isolated incident.” It wasn’t.

In fact, in 2010 ACLU received reports that Walgreens stores in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma were refusing to sell emergency contraception to men. Walgreens relented when the ACLU confronted them publicly.


How many rapists go out and purchase Plan B so they can give it to their victims? I’m not saying it’s never happened, but is this really a problem?

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20 Responses to You got a Plan C?

  1. DeniseVB says:

    Why didn’t he stay home with the kids and let wifey go shopping? Do they have a regular pharmacist? Mom could’ve have called it in?

    Then again, if I were still worried about this happening to me, I’d probably keep a Plan B in my nightstand 🙂

    Weird story, the guy sounded panicked so his demeanor might have been suspicious?

  2. 1539days says:

    “I’ve bought this plenty of times in my life, and it’s never been a problem,” he said.

    Sounds like they’re using it as Plan A.

  3. yttik says:

    I’d actually be reluctant to sell it to a man, too. Especially one who claimed he’d bought it “plenty of times.” I can think of many potential red flags, you could have someone giving it to their wife or girlfriend without her consent, you could have a pedophile trying to conceal evidence, you could have somebody trying to sell it on the street.

  4. Erin says:

    Let’s assume he is rapist and he’s planning ahead. How exactly is not selling him the drug he is of legal age to purchse going to impact that crime? Is he suddenly going to say – hey maybe I shouldn’t rape that woman because (1) she might get preganant against her will, (2) she might come after me for child suport payments if she gets pregant an carries her rapist child to term and keeps the child, or (3) I’ll leave extra evidence behind if she gets preganant that could get me convicted? Rapists aren’t exatly know for their caring concern for their fellow humanbeings they assult and the rape itself leaves all kinds of evidence behind that is not dependent on the woman getting pregnant, so just exactly how is the master criminal covering his tracks with Plan B?

    • djmm says:

      And if you were raped and were not on birth control, wouldn’t you want Plan B? Not that I believe there are that many considerate rapists…


    • yttik says:

      It’s actually fairly common for pedophiles, especially fathers/relatives, to make sure their victims have birth control/abortions. It has nothing to do with being “considerate” and everything to do with attempting to cover up a crime.

      There are also husbands and boyfriends who do not want to pay child support, so they force their wives and girlfriends to have abortions or they do something insidious to induce a miscarriage.

      I would not be comfortable giving a man plan B. That may be sexist of me, but statistically and historically, men have not behaved honorably towards women.

      • Erin says:

        The lack of sale of Plan B to a man is not going to prevent the criminal act of rape from ocurring. It is however, likely to result in a woman who is too traumatized to go to the pharmacy herself from getting Plan B in time to prevent the need for another painful experience – choosing to continue a pregancy to term or to terminate it early.

        The snarky queston would be somethindg like “Does that mean you would be uncomfortable selling a condom or beer to a man? Pedophiles and bad boyfriends have been know to use both of those products for nefarious purposes as well.” The reality is any product can be used by a criminal to advance their illegal objective, whatever that may be. That doesn’t mean the rest of the population should be denied access to a product for its intended purpose because someone could misuse it for criminal purposes.

        • yttik says:

          “It is however, likely to result in a woman who is too traumatized to go to the pharmacy herself…”

          Okay, but why would a woman be too traumatized to go to the pharmacy for the next 72 hours? Consensual sex would not do that to you.

          • Erin says:

            Yes I did write that from the persepctive of a rape victim. I could have just as easily written it from the persective of someone who is ill, busy or lazy. I dont see why the reason matters that another person picks up a medication for me. I often pick up nonprescription and prescription meds for my family members and sick friends. (Including the behind the counter cold meds where you have to give proof of ID and the amount of medication is limited to prevent illegal drug production.) However, if we limit the sale of Plan B to the patient, a woman over the age of 17 and still in her child bearing years, we are also preventing that woman’s brother, father, friend, neighbor, boyfriend, and (like in the case of the man in that CVS store in Texas) husband from obtaining the medication for her when that could be the only way for her to obtain it in a timely manner, in the case of a rape or consentual sex. We will cause that woman unnecissary harm and we will NOT prevent any rapes from ocurring. Rape has existeded as long as there have been humans and the rate has not spiked since the approval of OTC Plan B. There is no logical reason to associate the prevention of rape vicitims with the refusal of the sale of Plan B to men. However, because this is a medicine associated with the sex act, logic is not often in the picutre, emotion is. Hence your honest answer of being uncomfortable out of a concern for the potential misuse of the product. I feel that way about guns. My emotional rection doesnt give me the right to deny someone a legally available product if he/she meets the requirements to purchase the product. It should not give a pharmacist in Texas or anywhere else the right to deny a sale of a legal available medication either.

        • Nell says:

          yttik, do you agree then with the Obama decision to override the FDA recommendation and keep Plan B behind the pharmacist’s counter?

          Would you make women’s access to Plan B more difficult in order to ensure that no man could purchase Plan B?

      • jjmtacoma says:

        My husband frequently picks up medication for me at the pharmacy while I cook, work or just sit around reading comments on blogs.

        I guess I don’t understand how picking up Plan B is different than picking up a birth control prescription or condoms. For that matter, how is it different than picking up my allergy medicine?

        If I need any kind of medicine and my husband is out and about, it seems like a burden to require me personally to pick it up.

        • 1539days says:

          The difference is that a prescription requires a prescription. I wonder if CVS or other pharmacies will be liable if a woman dies from using Plan B.

          • Erin says:

            Not sure I follow your comment Days. Plan B is an OTC product for women over the age of 17. It is Rx for those under 17, per the recent HHS Sec decision.

            CVS will be no more responsible for a death from Plan B as they would be from a death due to an overdose of asprin or tylenol.

        • 1539days says:

          If a pharmacist is distributing it, there’s a liability issue. Plus, this is America. You can sue anyone for anything without a financial penalty.

        • Three Wickets says:

          No idea what you’re talking about Days. Sue for what: rape-by-plan-b? I get you don’t like contraception, but stick to the point.

        • 1539days says:

          Plan B seems to be in some kind of limbo where it’s over-the-counter, but you can’t buy it over the counter. If the only restriction is age, then any cashier could scan it based on the person’s ID, like cigarettes or alcohol.

          This makes me think CVS is scared of selling Plan B in the first place. Legally, though, they don’t really have the discretion to limit the sale of it by gender.

          • Erin says:

            You are confusing the method these Texas pharmacies use to dispense Plan B and it’s legal status as a drug. It is an OTC drug for patients over the age of 17 and an Rx for those under 17. This is not that disimilar to the difference between the versions of Prilosec that are OTC and those that are Rx. In the case of Prilosec the OTC version is a lower dose than the Rx versions. But the same decision was made NO doctor is needed for the patient to decide to take the drug for a certain set of circumstances. Pharmacies, drug stores, grocery store and other stores can sell the OTC drug if they choose to stock it. There are different reasons to put it “behind the counter”, one is the two different indications for the different age ranges for the patient. Another other is cost due of the product and avoiding theft of the product. The others are the emotional reasons associated with the fact it is a contraceptive drug and the morality judgements our culture makes regarding the sex act when discussing women.
            However Days you are incorrect in assuming that condoms, cigarates and alcohol can be rung up by any cashier every everyehere in the US. I live in one of those liberal blue states where access to Plan B is not that big a deal but I see that the condoms are behind locked glass just like the cigarets. You need to find the person with the keys to purchase those. But you can get them without a written note from your husband or wife if you are old enough.

  5. Nell says:

    It seems to me a rapist would be more likely to buy a bottle of an OTC sleep aid to render his victim unconscious than he would be to buy Plan B. Lots of easily available drugs can be used for nefarious purposes, but no one is suggesting we should have to go through a pharmacist to obtain them.

    The point is that the FDA has said that Plan B is safe drug and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be on the store shelves right next to the Midol. But President “Common Sense,” in his wisdom, overruled that decision. Save for Obama’s craven political calculation in an election year, the Texas man looking to buy EC for his wife would not have faced any opposition from the CVS pharmacist.

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    I would panic too.

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