Imagine this scenario:
You’ve been faithfully using birth control pills for most of your adult life. You’ve never had the “oops I missed my pill” moment, but one day you’re not feeling quite right, and you decide to amuse yourself and take a pregnancy test.
Welcome to Shanta Russell’s life. At the age of 33, Shanta was shocked when she found out she was pregnant in 2011, after taking her “trusted” birth control pills for 12 years. Three months after her positive test results, she received a recall notice from Qualitest Pharmaceuticals informing her that the birth control pills had mistakenly been put in the wrong order in the blister pack, rendering the drug ineffective.
According to the Kansas City Star, there’s no telling how many women were affected by the company’s blunder:
The recalls involved millions of blister packs of pills distributed to warehouses and pharmacies. Consumer health advocates say the problems were the inevitable consequence of inadequate federal monitoring of drug manufacturing plants.
How many women became pregnant while taking the pills is unknown, but could easily number in the hundreds.
Shanta, now a mother of a 1-year-old, is suing Qualitest, its parent corporation, and the company that packaged the pills. Her lawsuit, filed Feb. 6 in Jackson County Circuit Court, seeks compensation for her health care costs, for the cost of raising her child and for the emotional pain she’s been through.
‘I was devastated,’ Russell told The Star. ‘I questioned myself. After all these years, how could this happen? Then I received a letter in the mail. Of course I was angry. There was nothing I did that was a mistake.’
Shanta was living the single lady life, and had no plans on starting a family so soon. She was juggling two jobs and enjoyed being able to spend her free time in Miami, Las Vegas and Jamaica.
Abortion wasn’t an option for Shanta. “It crossed my mind. But I thought: I’m older now. I don’t have too much time to wait to have children. It’s here. And I thought about it again, how an abortion would affect me. I couldn’t deal with myself.”
Although her life has changed because of parenthood, Shanta doesn’t seem disappointed in the decision she has made.
“She has an amazing personality. She’s the happiest child,” Russell said. “She’s the most precious thing that ever happened. I can’t live without her.”
“When you have a kid you have to rearrange your life. You have to cut back on things.”
If you were in Shanta’s situation, what would you have done?