UC Davis Stocks Morning-After Pill in Vending Machines. Other Colleges Should Too.

If taken within 72 hours, Plan B (the morning-after pill) prevents pregnancy more than 87 percent of the time. Realistically, though, any form of contraception is only as effective as it is accessible. That’s why former UC Davis student Parteek Singh spent two years working to make the pill as accessible on campus as chips and soda, and that hard work has finally paid off.

Now, the next time UC Davis students need condoms, tampons, pregnancy tests or Plan B, they can head to a study room on campus and get whatever they need from a vending machine.

Since 2013, women of all ages can buy Plan B without a prescription. That same year the FDA approved—or at least did not strike down—the availability of the medication in vending machines when Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania started stocking it in their machines.

The vending machine, called a “Wellness To Go” machine, makes it so much easier for these students, particularly the women, to control their own bodies and reproduction and to care for their reproductive health. Students who don’t have a car to get to a pharmacy, or simply don’t have the time, no longer have to worry about how they can get the medication they need.

Of course, there are skeptics. This is a story about women’s access to contraceptives, after all.

“It is promoting like ‘Oh hey, go and have unsafe sex because then you have a backup option and it’s gonna be cheaper than if you just wanna to go a drug store,’” UC Davis student Jordan Herrera told CNN affiliate KTXL.

Please. We need to stop pushing the idea that women are not responsible enough to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Selling emergency contraception does not “promote” unsafe sex; it promotes a woman’s ability to make choices about her own body and that’s what makes people so uncomfortable. We give out guns like candy, but worry about what people might do if they get their hands on birth control? The moral policing of products that specifically affect women just doesn’t make any sense.

Think about alcohol, for example. Sure, some people make poor choices because they are able to purchase alcohol, but we don’t assume that everyone who buys a case of beer is going to become dependent on it. We expect that people making this purchase are doing so responsibly and trust them to make their own decisions, and if they don’t it’s really none of our business. In reality, the consequences of Plan B are far less than alcohol or even Tylenol so let’s lay off the morality policing and let women make their own decisions about contraception.

The only reason we do make those kind of assumptions about emergency contraceptives is because women are usually the ones buying it, and we don’t trust them with their own decisions, bodies or reproduction.

There’s this myth surrounding the morning-after pill that promiscuous women who aren’t using regular birth control rely on Plan B so they can continue to be sexually irresponsible. First of all, so what if that is the case? Health concerns regarding repeated use of Plan B are unsubstantiated, so the only reason people have a problem with that scenario is their own outdated, sexist ideas of women and sex. Men aren’t judged half as harshly for being sexually active with multiple partners, and it’s not like they’re always responsibly using protection.

Second of all, a 2013 report from the CDC showed that 11 percent of US women—or 5.8 million women—have ever used Plan B and that number has almost certainly increased since then. I doubt nearly 6 million women all have the same story.

Shippensburg University started stocking Plan B in vending machines after a campus survey showed 85 percent of students wanted the pill to be accessible. Plan B is safe, effective and students want access to it. So why don’t all college campuses have these machines?

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

78 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for posting

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Telica R
Telica R1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla1 years ago

How great! This should be allowed everywhere!

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Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Thanks!!!!

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natasha s
Past Member 1 years ago

Brilliant! I wanna see these machines everywhere.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Thanks!!!!

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H1 years ago

What a great idea. I hope more follow suit.

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Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks

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