One California university vending machine is selling contraceptives for students on campus.
The University of California Davis’ activities and recreation centre vending machine offers everything from condoms to pregnancy tests to the morning after pill, KCRA reports. Students can also purchase Advil, Claritin or the Diva Cup.
UC Davis now has a vending machine selling Plan B, pregnancy tests, and condoms pic.twitter.com/fP4X7x9QcD
— Tom Miller (@KCRAMiller) April 22, 2017
A lengthy process
Student Parteek Singh came up with the idea in the fall of 2015, KTVU Fox 2 reports, after he realized the city of Davis only had one 24-hour pharmacy and a friend of his had a hard time getting Plan B.
After being rejected for his first proposal, Singh didn’t give up.
“The main goal was to make this care more easily accessible, so when it was rejected, I wasn’t upset,” Singh told the broadcaster. “I was glad my voice was heard.”
He worked with his campus’ health and wellness centre and eventually, the administration approved his idea. The school agreed to a vending machine concept because two other California institutions had similar models.
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“Not many campus administrations would collaborate with things like this,” Singh continued. “I’m grateful and believe it shows how much this administration cares about student health.”
The machine operates 18 hours a day, and is closed between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Students also have the option of buying contraceptives at the wellness centre during business hours.
Costs of contraceptives
The vending machine offers Plan B, for example, for US$30.
But reports have found the true cost of birth control can dig deep into people’s pockets. According to one Ontario-based report from Women’s Post, after looking at the five main types of birth control, the Mirena IUD had an average cost of $416.
The Nuva ring could cost up to $31 a month, and oral birth control was $20 per month.
“It is clear that Canada has is an issue when it comes to birth control. The act of charging women to protect themselves from getting pregnant is arguably discrimination,” the site reports.
How students feel
According to KCRA, the UC Davis campus is supportive of their new vending machines.
“When a contraceptive method is missed or fails, this provides an option to reduce the risk of pregnancy from that,” UC Davis student health and wellness medical director, Dr. Cindy Schorzman, told the station.
And student Evalyn Ponce said just because the machines are available, it doesn’t mean more people are likely to have unprotected sex.
“It’s definitely a new idea, but I feel like it’s not changing people’s beliefs, it’s just there,” she told the station.