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Apr 28 2017
by Melissa Cordell

UC Davis Students React to New Campus Vending Machine Selling Plan B

By Melissa Cordell - Apr 28 2017

The University of California at Davis now offers students the option to purchase Plan B, pregnancy tests and condoms in a vending machine. 

The vending machine makes it cheaper and more accessible for students. Students can purchase Plan B at the pharmacy, but the vending machine is open for 18 hours. The vending machine is housed in the Activities and Recreation Center, which closes from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., the only time the machine is inaccessible. 

Parteek Singh, a senior at UC Davis, has been advocating for this method of purchasing the pill for quite a while. It was one of his main objectives while he was a senator in student governement.

There is the expected backlash from conservative groups about the school's choice to make this happen, but female students are generally happy about it, including Alchemy Graham, a freshman majoring in Marine and Coastal Sciences.

"I use BC [birth control] so it won't affect me really, but I'm just glad it's more available for other young women to use," Graham said. "I was informed that it costs about $20-$30, which is amazing because that's about half as much as they normally cost."

Gianna Lincoln, a freshman Human Development major, commended the university's initiative.

"I believe that, especially due to current circumstances, women should be supported regarding their reproductive health in any ways possible," Lincoln said. "I've been keeping up to date concerning the issue, and it's really nerve-wracking to be a woman right now. Especially since we're in college - there's people who are going to need it who might not have immediate access to a drug store or a Planned Parenthood. Overall, I feel that it's a statement that my university sides with women, and it's a great idea! [I] love it."

Many female students came to the same conclusion Akira Hood, a freshman majoring in Animal Science did.

"It is a great thing," Hood said. "It makes it more accessible to a wider range of students for a cheaper cost."

Samantha Surigao is a junior trans woman at UC Davis majoring in Cognitive Neuroscience. She's not affected by more access to female birth control and pregnancy prevention methods, but she knows a lot of female students will be. 

"I know a lot of people are concerned that having Plan B so easily accessible promotes carelessness, but I just don't agree with that," she said. "If anything, I think it reminds students to be responsible. But even when students are being responsible in terms of using proper birth control, sometimes birth control fails anyway. And when it does fail, women will typically resort to Plan B. After all, that is why it's called Plan B right? Plan A must have not worked."

Surigao also thinks this new method speaks volumes about the university's attitude toward reproductive health.

"I definitely think it shows initiative from the University and promotes CHOICE when it comes to female reproductive health," she said. "Especially when you consider how man-handled female health has been historically."

Katerina Roth, a freshman majoring in Food Science, appreciated the new resource because it was so different.

"I think the new dispersal method is pretty unique and because it is in a vending machine, which can seem strange to some," Roth said. "People are actually interested and it is opening up a valuable dialogue about what exactly Plan B is and about safe sex in general."

She said she thinks the vending machine will help raise awareness about contraceptives.

"I think the increased awareness about contraceptives is important, especially for college students," she said. "I think it is also good to note that the UC Davis Student Health and Counseling services has been selling over-the-counter Plan B for a while at the SHCS pharmacy, which is closed in the evenings and on weekends. The new vending machine just takes a service already offered and just makes it more accessible."

Lead Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons via feck_aRt_post

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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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