The trial encouraging pharmacists to ‘counsel’ women seeking emergency contraception

Women dressed in white bonnets and red robes as hand maids from The Handmaid’s Tale
Women dressed in white bonnets and red robes as hand maids from The Handmaid’s Tale
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by vpickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Imagine you’ve had unprotected sex. You’re trying to access the morning-after pill. Or you’re in the early stage of pregnancy and have chosen to take the abortion pill. You rock up to the pharmacy to buy your medication and the person behind the counter wants to have a word with you.

‘Would you like a private counselling session to learn about contraception?’

How do you feel? What do you say?

The Australian government has provided funding for a university trial in several states. The Daily Telegraph reports:

Pharmacists would offer birth control counselling to women who want the emergency contraceptive…


Or is that asking too much?

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Three approaches will save the world from COVID-19:

  • everyone taking steps to prevent spread of the disease, via hygiene practices, and quarantine and mask-wearing where needed.
  • Worldwide vaccination of the majority.
  • Compassion; looking out for each other.

That last one, compassion? Yeah, we need more people to jump on that train. I’m fed up with petty fighting between people who want the vaccine and others who reject it. People on both sides screaming, ‘sheep!’ The back-biting makes sensible discussion impossible without being howled down. Can’t we discuss the facts without making people ashamed to ask reasonable questions?

Hell. I mentioned…


Not that I’d ever left

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Most of my stories are for Medium readers, not writers. Today, I made an exception. I have four reasons for this:

  • To give Medium feedback on how the bonuses affect writers.
  • My personal catharsis. I need to get some shit off my chest.
  • To give other Medium writers ideas I hope are helpful.
  • To address people’s complaints about missing out on bonuses and adjust their attitudes if needed.

Note: this story will contain links, none of them are affiliate links; but tools I use. Any social media mentioned does link to my personal accounts.

I’ve been writing on Medium for…


By author: Sharon Hurley Hall

Image courtesy of Sharon Alger

Sharon Hurley Hall, an anti-racism writer, is the author of Exploring Shadeism. As a white feminist, I’m aware of feminism’s history of excluding black women’s experience from our activism. I want to do my part to rectify this wrong by educating myself as much as possible on women of color’s experience of feminism (or womanism, a term I have learned thanks to Allison Gaines).

My feminist reading list to date has predominantly featured the works of white authors. They made efforts towards inclusion, which is a good thing. However, I want to read the works of non-white writers, too. I…


Let’s knock virginity firmly off its pedestal

Image created by author on Canva

Society has a strange attitude towards virginity, huh? We broach this in mainstream media through a hetero-normative lens. Our broad definition of virginity’s end is via penis in vagina (PIV) sex.

We treat sex as a milestone; the maker of women and men, when in reality we need to reach a certain maturity level before we start. Mainstream culture is just exploring virginity outside of PIV intercourse, as we become more aware of non-straight sex.

Our culture’s approach towards virginity is toxic and often contradictory. Aren’t we’re overdue to give virginity a much-needed makeover? Young people today are staying virgins…


Is ageing honestly the worst thing that can happen to a woman?

Photo by Dmitry Nikulnikov from Moose

Let’s dissect the cautionary tale delivered to young women about ‘hitting the wall;’ a horror story of love, rejection, fear, revenge, and wrinkles. The ‘wall’ is a new term; the concept is centuries old.

Society teaches women to fear the passage of time. One day, they warn young women, you will grow old. You will age, gain weight, your boobs will drop, and wrinkles will take over your face. This is the ‘wall’, and depending on who you speak to, the age women reach it varies. Different men say the age is 25, 30, or 40.

This is a popular…


An inanimate object doesn’t hold that power

Photo by Thom Bradley from Burst

When I resided in Sydney years ago, I had Muslim next-door neighbors; a father and his 15-year-old daughter. Both acted polite, quiet and affable towards me. The daughter didn’t wear a hijab and dressed like any white Aussie teen. In a chat with the father outside our front doors, he mentioned his mother was moving to Australia to live with them. The block of flats I lived in had thick concrete walls, and they never made much noise. I was shocked when they started screaming at each other one morning, as I dressed for work.

He demanded his daughter wear…


If my doctor hadn’t prioritized my issues, there’d be two children missing from my family

Image by KELLEPICS from PixaBay

‘You seem fine to me.’

‘You look so healthy, I’m sure everything’s fine with you.’

To most people, these words bring reassurance. As an endometriosis sufferer, they’re the words I dread hearing the most. Whenever a doctor has uttered them, it’s been my signal to find a new one.

I’ve had awful periods since the age of eleven. It never occurred to me that endometriosis could be the culprit until my diagnosis at 32. In the 80s, my school gave us a decent education on the anatomy of menstruation. Except the lessons focused on making us feel good about ourselves…


Finally, they’re here

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

I’ve loved heavy metal music since I was an emotional teen in the 80s. I wasn’t strictly a metal-head; I enjoyed a variety of music. But there was something about the raw aggression of metal that let me vent my pent-up stress at the time. The simple act of playing a Metallica song was like plugging into pure power. What teenage girl couldn’t use that, huh?

Back then, I didn’t notice that all the metal bands featured men only. Looking back, that’s pretty weird, right? We knew women could rock. Look at Joan Jett, Suzie Quatro, The Runaways, and Heart…


The ‘sex play gone wrong’ defense against murder

Image created by Sharon Alger on Canva

Recently, in Wagga Wagga, Australia, an ex RAAF corporal walked free from court after killing someone. Free from prison time. What was his crime? He strangled a Filipino transgender woman to death.

“The matter is towards the lower end on the scale of seriousness for matters of manslaughter.” [Source]

Although Rian Toyer pled guilty to killing Mhelody Bruno, he walked free. The reason he got away with it? The sex play defense. The pair had dated for three weeks, and Toyer admitted he had never asked Mhelody for consent to strangle her during sex. I’m deliberately using the term, ‘strangle,’…

Sharon Alger

I’m an Aussie mother, carer, dog-lover and feminist. I write about feminism, humor, opinion pieces, and whatever else I feel like.

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