UC Davis became the first campus in the United States to offer morning-after pills in vending machines. They also provide condoms, pregnancy tests, and tampons. This is certainly a liberal measure to promote safe sex and reproductive health.

The machine that dispenses morning-after pills is named Wellness to Go. There are only four universities in the U.S. selling emergency contraceptive pills right now. However, UC Davis is the first to sell them through a vending machine at $30, increasing accessibility and avoiding the shame students might feel when they buy the pill in pharmacies.

Morning After Pill
“It’s not typical, but it’s very useful nonetheless, and that’s what vending machines are for, right? ” undergraduate student Jose Galindo said. Image credit: Mother How.

Now buying a morning-after pill is as easy as buying a can of soda

The Wellness to Go vending machine was installed in the UC Davis Campus thanks to the hard work of student representatives. According to UC Davis student senator Parteek Singh, they were lobbying for over two years to make this happen. The university was very skeptical at first.

After hearing the idea, the authorities suggested selling the emergency contraception pills at the bookstore. Sigh said that students are already too embarrassed when buying a contraceptive pill at pharmacies, therefore having to buy them from another student within the campus was even worse.  In the end, they accepted to install the Wellness to go vending machine in early April.

Morning after pill at vending machine
Morning-after pills in a vending machine at UC Davis. Image credit: CNN.

“The more skeptical and negativity I got from other people, like, ‘Oh it’s not going to happen,’ kind of pushed me more,” he said.

The vending machine has been housed at the prime location of Activities and Recreation Center on the campus. It works 18 hours a day. It is inaccessible when the building shuts down between 1 a.m and 5 a.m.

The students can also get the pill in the Students Health, and the Wellness Center also located in the campus, which are open during business hours.

The vending machines won’t dispense candies and snacks; however, it is also offering condoms, tampons, pads, pregnancy tests, allergy pills and pain relievers such as Advil and Tylenol. It is managed by the student pharmacy and UC Davis Stores which also handles the bookstore and other outlets.

The pills are dispensed by $30 at the vending machines

UC Davis is a pioneer with this measure, so now students can buy the emergency contraceptive pills without going through embarrassment and without having to go to a pharmacy. The Students senator said that was, in essence, the primary purpose of the vending machine.

Most students in the campus are sexually active, and they sometimes face difficulties in getting contraceptives at the town’s pharmacy, because they depend on transportation to get there and because sometimes the store runs out of contraceptives. These safe sex products are essentials within the campus. In fact, Singh told that the idea came up when one of his closest friends needed the pill and couldn’t find it in the proper time.

UC Davis
Students can get the pills in the Wellness to Go vending machine for $30, which is the lowest price possible. Image credit: UC Davis.

In pharmacies, these emergency contraceptive pills are commonly sold for $40 to $50. In consequence, UC Davis is not only making the pills available within the campus, but it is also respecting anonymity at a low price.

UC Davis is promoting reproductive rights

The morning-after pill has to be taken within the next five days after intercourse, according to of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. The sooner it is taken the better. That is why the Wellness to Go promotes reproductive justice and reproductive rights, giving UC Davis students the power to control their sexual health.

The Obama administration made Plan B pills to be prescription-free for all women of all ages in the U.S. Most universities in the country don’t sell these products within the campus. US David students expect other universities to take their example, so more students in the U.S. have accessibility to these essential goods.

The Wellness to Go machine has indeed become a hit in social media. Many students are talking about it and sharing UC Davis stories on their Facebook pages.

Students at UC Davis acknowledge that this is an unconventional idea. However, they support it. Some say it is a very good idea because it avoids the awkward face-to-face interaction when purchasing contraceptives. Evalyn Ponce, a student at UC Davis, said that it would be the last resort, but she doesn’t believe that unprotected sex rates would increase on campus, given the availability of the emergency contraceptive pills. She believes it is a very good idea, which does not necessarily change life.

“It’s just a machine it’s not going to give you and look or anything,” said  Singh. “That’s the beauty of it.”

Source: Yahoo News