Yes, that’s right. I paid $50 for a stranger’s emergency contraception.

She was having trouble with the chip on her debit card, and after trying it a few times she said, “I’ll have to come back another time.”

The box was already wrapped tight in a bag, but I glanced over at the cashier’s screen and saw what she was purchasing. There was no way I could let her leave without that box.

I didn’t ask her why she needed it. I didn’t assume anything about or judge her. I didn’t feel the need to weigh her decision against the voice of my religious upbringing or ask her to consider “other alternatives.”

I didn’t prod her with intrusive questions about her past or whether or not the sex she had was consensual.

None of that mattered. It was her decision to make and none of my business.

She did not have to justify the purchase to anyone, because she’s lucky enough to live in a fairly progressive state.

In this state she has the right to pick a box off the shelf and bring it up to the register without pause.

She didn’t have to sit in a stuffy waiting area full of pregnant women, to later explain to someone in a white coat why or how she was in this “predicament.”

In this state it’s none of anyone’s business why she’s making this decision, because it’s HER decision.

Women in my state have 72 hours to make these choices for themselves.

Lately, I wonder and worry about how long we will have this right. I worry it won’t be long before women are forced to make these choices in dingy basements with rusty instruments instead of carrying a box, and their dignity, to a friendly cashier at their local drug store.

So, when I saw this stranger about to leave the store without that box — that box she may not have the right to tomorrow, I stopped her. I handed her the box, I rubbed her shoulder and told her not to worry — that I would take care of it.

She thanked me and she left the store. I got into my car and drove home SO grateful I got to be the person in line behind that woman today. So lucky it was me and not someone who wouldn’t have understood exactly what it was like to make such a decision; or the importance of that 72 hour window.

I do not know how long we will have the right to make these important choices about our bodies, in my state or in this country, but I do know this.

THIS is how we persist. This is how we push forward and hold each other up. THIS is how we hold space for each other.

$50 at a time, supporting one stranger at a time, empowering each other all the time, wherever we are and however we can.

This is how we do it.

This is how we love and respect each other. This is how we protect each other’s rights even if/when others may not agree with or understand their importance.

This is how we resist.


This post originally appeared on Facebook.

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2 years ago

Thank you for helping her.

2 years ago

Thank you for being there for her.

[…] to slow down a bit and learn to say the word no…tomorrow.   Inevitably though, my dedication to providing comfort to complete strangers wins out, and I put off whatever it is until I'm knocked unconscious. Then comes the hiding, […]

5 years ago

I absolutely loved this story, Julie. I think it’s so important to look at people as people and not as political statements. You freakin’ rock.