Students petition for Plan B vending machine on campus

Some students at a Massachusetts college are calling for a vending machine that dispenses birth control. (Credit: WBZ via CNN Newsource)
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:58 AM PDT
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BOSTON (WBZ) - Months after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, students at Northeastern University are calling for action.

Members of the Northeastern Sexual Health Advocacy Resources and Education group are petitioning for a new vending machine on campus. In it, they want Plan B emergency contraception, or the morning after pill.

“By not offering emergency contraception to students or making it easily accessible, it’s still saying that this is something that is stigmatized and that sex is stigmatized,” Ren Birnholz with the group said.

Right now, students who need Plan B have to make an appointment at the university’s health center.

“Or another option is to go to a drug store and pay $50, which can be really difficult for a lot of our students who might be food insecure or low income,” Maya Bravo with the group said.

Last week, Massachusetts passed a new abortion rights bill increasing access to abortion and allowing for emergency contraception to be made available in vending machines.

Some colleges took the steps months ago. Boston University installed a Plan B vending machine in March.

Claire Teylouni of Reproductive Equity Now says it is all about access and cost.

“At $7 or $8 compared to, say, the $50 you might spend on Plan B at CVS or Walgreens, that’s breaking down a really huge barrier,” she said.

A spokesperson for Northeastern University says the school is making an existing vending machine available to dispense emergency contraception for the fall, and students seem to support the move.

“I think it’s just less scary than going into the health center,” a student said.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday at the first meeting of the newly-established Reproductive Rights Task Force.

The order will allow Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider all relevant actions to make sure women get “medically necessary care without delay.”

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