the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen


Here’s a mid-week PSA for all you lovely folks: even if you’re fastidious about your sexual health, we all know that accidents can happen. That’s where the morning after pill comes in! So how can you make sure that you’re prepared in the event of a contraceptive failure? Check out the tips below:

Plan ahead. Though emergency contraception goes by the colloquial term “morning after pill”, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t obtain it way before you get down and dirty. After all, the potential of an unplanned pregnancy can be really stressful, and three out of the four kinds of EC available in America are more effective the sooner you take them. If you’ve already got EC on hand when the condom breaks, you won’t have to worry about trudging over to CVS at the break of dawn. Contraceptive failure can happen to anyone - don’t think you’re immune! (If you want to buy EC online, here are coupons available through the campaign.)

Know your rights. The law permits anyone over the age of 17 (regardless of gender!) to obtain emergency contraception without a prescription. Unfortunately, there are still pharmacists who have refused to prescribe EC over-the-counter due to misinformation. If that happens to you, show up informed! Bring this wallet-sized fact sheet (courtesy of the National Women’s Law Center) to your pharmacy and tell them what the consequences will be if they refuse to sell you EC.

Get informed. There are four brands of EC on the market. Do you know the differences between all of them? And did you know that you can also use the Paragard IUD as a form of emergency contraception? Check out the above episode of Sex Really (which I made for last year’s Back Up Your Birth Control Day), and download this handy chart of EC options from the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

Fight for access. Last year, the FDA recommended that EC be made available over the counter, a recommendation that was overruled by an unprecedented (and unjustified!) veto by the health secretary. As a result, those under 17 still can’t obtain it without a prescription even though American has the highest unplanned teen pregnancy rate of any industrialized nation. Learn more about the political battles over our contraceptive rights over at RH Reality Check.

Share the knowledge. Today’s the Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action! Help spread the word about EC by using the #ECBC hashtag and retweeting facts from my Twitter that I’ll be posting all day. You can also reblog this post, link to or like the campaign on Facebook, or share the video above (short link: with your social networks.

The Back Up Your Birth Control National Day of Action is a national campaign to expand access to emergency contraception (EC) by increasing public education and awareness. It is a project of the National Institute For Reproductive Health.

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    HAPPY BACK UP YOUR BIRTH CONTROL DAY! Here’s a mid-week PSA for all you lovely folks: even if you’re fastidious about...
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