An emergency contraception vending machine was recently installed at a Washington, D.C., university following a student-led effort in response to the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, the Washington Post reported.
Aiza Saeed, a student at George Washington University, worked with peers and school officials to have a vending machine with "morning-after" pills installed on campus.
"You could get Doritos and Plan B at the same time," Saeed told the Post, referring to the brand name for a type of emergency contraceptive pill.
Neharika Rao, another GWU student who participated in the effort, told WRC-TV, "After Roe v. Wade was overturned, we felt a lot of passion in making sure that people felt supported on this campus."
After surveying over 1,500 students about the vending machine, Rao and Saeed stated there was "not a lot of pushback."
"The only concern was about discreetness and how we could make sure that students felt that it wasn't a very public way to go and get some type of contraceptive," Rao explained.
The vending machine, which also supplies Advil and tampons, was installed in the basement of the student center.
Christian Zidouemba, president of the student association at GWU, defended the decision, stating, "Overall, the reaction is we need this on our campus."
"We need to make sure it's less expensive and more discreet so people can purchase it," Zidouemba added, noting that he is exploring ways to lower the cost further.
A GWU spokesperson stated that while pharmacies offer the pills for around $50, the pills in the university's vending machine are priced at $30 to provide students with a more affordable option. According to the university spokesperson, the university did not subsidize the vending machine. However, the university's student health center has previously provided emergency contraception.
Kelly Cleland, the executive director of the nonprofit American Society for Emergency Contraception, told the Post that her organization has worked with students from more than 70 school campuses to provide access to the pills. Cleland estimated that approximately 32 campuses have similar emergency contraception vending machines.
WRC-TV reported that Boston University, Dartmouth University, Northeastern University, Stanford University, and two University of California campuses also have vending machines that dispense emergency contraception.
Shaohannah Faith, a Washington, D.C., regional coordinator for Students for Life of America, called the GWU's decision alarming and told the Post that providing the pills "with the same readiness as candy and chips is reckless and disappointing."
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