STUDENTS CELEBRATE PLAN B VENDING MACHINES ON CAMPUSES

by iPrayForLife

God, open the eyes of university students about the value of all human life.  We pray that the flippancy and capriciousness that is so common on many campuses would be replaced with broken hearts before You, oh God.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 )

Some universities are installing vending machines where students can purchase emergency contraception, an effort to remove barriers to and anxiety surrounding products like Plan B.  Barnard College in New York said it would soon install a vending machine, months after Columbia University did. Stanford University, Dartmouth College and a few University of California campuses have added vending machines with Plan B or its generic alternative in recent years. Yale University students have pushed for one, and the student council at Miami University in Ohio voted last month in support of selling emergency contraception in campus markets as well

Access to emergency contraception has grown significantly since Plan B, sometimes called the morning-after pill, came to market in 1999. It is now sold over the counter to customers, regardless of age.

Many schools offer free or reduced-cost emergency contraception in their student health centers.

But campus medical offices or pharmacies aren’t always open when the pills are most needed, including on weekends, students say. They also may prefer the anonymity of buying from the machine.

The vending machines haven’t prompted public objections on campuses, where they’re largely seen as an extension of existing services. The machines on most campuses, small boxes attached to a wall or dispensers resembling those for Snickers or soda, also sell other health products like cold medicine and condoms.

At Barnard, the pills are free for students covered by the university’s health insurance plan and $15 otherwise at the health center, and $15 in the machine, said Mary Joan Murphy, Barnard’s executive director of student health and wellness programs.

Vending-machine company Vengo has placed its small, digital machines stocked with Plan B on 10 campuses, said Brian Shimmerlik, the company’s chief executive. Mr. Shimmerlik says his company didn’t have the idea to offer Plan B and didn’t do any marketing to attract campuses. The product is a better seller than cellphone chargers or ear buds, he said.

A 2018 survey from the American College Health Association estimated that nearly 17% of sexually active undergraduates used, or reported that a partner used, emergency contraception in the prior 12 months.

Yale’s undergraduate student government initially expected to stock its vending machine with emergency contraception and other health-related items but learned this month that a Connecticut law bars it from vending over-the-counter drugs.

“This is a big disappointment,” said Yale College Council president Saloni Rao. She aims to still stock it with condoms.

Excerpted from The Wall Street JournalMelissa Korn and Melanie Grayce West reporting.