U of M Student Association Proposes Contraceptives In Vending Machines

MGN Online

(WCCO)- When you think of vending machines at colleges and universities, you probably think of chips and pop.

But now, there’s a proposal to put contraceptives, including Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, in vending machines at the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Student Union.

The U’s student association is pushing the proposal.

As Esme Murphy reports, it’s because the U’s student health services isn’t always open when it’s needed.

The U of M’s Coffman Student union is open late at night and on weekends, and that’s why student leaders say the vending machines need to be stocked with contraceptives, including the Plan B pill. The U of M Student Association is strongly in favor.

“There have been a lot of students coming up to MSA asking that this initiative needs to be put in place,” Stravani Sadineni, the Minnesota Student Association’s Health and Wellness Director said.

According to the drug’s manufacturer, Plan B is more effective the sooner you take it after unprotected sex. If you take it within 24 hours, it’s 95 percent effective, but if you wait even between 48 to 72 hours after unprotected sex, it is only 61 percent effective.

Plan B can already be found in vending machines at colleges and universities including Stanford, Dartmouth and the University of California system.

U of M freshman Rena Eschenburg says she found herself in a panic trying to get the Plan B pill on a weekend, and ended up spending $50 at a local pharmacy. She would like to see it in vending machines.

“I was definitely scared,” Eschenburg said. “It’s something that, in the moment, you need that accessibility.”

Amy Marino is a doctor in training at the U of M, and thinks it’s a great idea.

“Anytime you can make birth control more available, more easily accessible, that is obviously going to be the best thing for the people involved,” Marino said.

The University of Minnesota released a statement, saying, “This is a student-led proposal from the Minnesota Student Association that was brought to the University for consideration. Discussions are preliminary and no decisions have been made.”