In another push to improve sexual health, Yale University has decided to install vending machines that will allow students to buy emergency contraception, including the morning-after pill, Plan B, and other over-the-counter medications and items.
As reported by the Yale Daily News, the “wellness-to-go” vending machine will be available to students on campus all day, every day at Silliman College, and will be launched before the winter break over Christmas.
Plan B is said to have a price tag of $49.99, similar to what people can expect to pay for it at a local pharmacy.
“There will definitely be Plan B in there and there will definitely some sort of other over the counter medications and there will definitely be condoms available near the machine,” 21-year-old Yale College Council representative Ileana Valdez said.
Valdez also added that she hopes the new installation will pave the way for vending machines with other items that students normally have to go to a pharmacy for.
A student at the university, Grace Cheung, explained that she was the one who had proposed the idea of an emergency contraceptive vending machine on campus, adding that she had gotten the idea after seeing similar ideas implemented at other universities. She first brought the idea up in the fall of 2017, explaining that “unprotected sex frequently occurs on campus,” and that the vending machine can eliminate the “inconvenient and humiliating” process of accessing emergency contraception.
Yale University is ALL about accessibility to reproductive health care services. According to @Bustle, Yale is installing a vending machine that provides emergency contraception, condoms + more on campus for students!
— PRJKT RUBY (@PRJKTRUBY) December 13, 2018
“I hoped it would solve the problems of access and stigma related to getting emergency contraception at Yale. It is often difficult to get, both at Yale Health, and at nearby pharmacies, and it is often a very uncomfortable and humiliating process.”
Following her suggestion, the Reproductive Justice Action League at Yale, YCC representatives, and other students began advocating for a vending machine as well.
Although the morning-after pill is currently available to students through Yale’s health-care center, the vending machine will make it much more accessible to students, and easier to get at quickly given the availability of the vending machine.
This around-the-clock access to Yale’s vending machine will “get rid of the fear that one might have going to the health center and having to talk someone especially if this is something that’s happening late at night,” Valdez explained.
In the past few years, Stanford University, Pomona College, Brandeis University, and two of the University of California system schools have installed similar vending machines for the students to have access to birth control and emergency contraception.