By Yecenia Alcaraz
“Wellness to Go” vending machines will not increase the chances of unprotected sex.
It will increase the possibility of safe sex and reduce unplanned pregnancies.
University of California, Davis has all the right intentions by allowing their students to obtain the morning-after pill from an on campus vending machine.
The Wellness to Go vending machine offers more than just Plan B. It provides condoms, tampons, pregnancy tests, common allergy and pain relievers.
This idea was developed after UC Davis student Parteek Singh was told by a friend that she had a rough time trying to get a Plan B pill from a pharmacy.
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive and should only be used for emergencies, not as a regular form of birth control.
As a part-time student with a full-time job, I understand that it is difficult to make time in between a busy scheduled to stop by a pharmacy.
After Singh spent two years trying to get UC Davis to agree to his idea, the vending machine was installed last month in a study area. Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and Pomona College in Claremont are other universities across the country who offer the emergency contraceptive outside the school health center.
In 2012, Shippensburg decided a vending machine with emergency contraceptives would be beneficial to their students and 85 percent of their students supported the idea.
Two years later, Pomona College also added a similar machine to the “Wellness to Go” vending machine. One frequent inconvenience is that pharmacies are not open 24-hours, seven days a week. Another drawback, is the high price of $50 or more for the pill.
In 2013, the Obama Administration made Plan B available to women of all ages without a prescription. Currently, the Trump administration has made efforts to abolish the Affordable Care Act , which allows women to obtain birth control at an affordable price.
UC Davis reassures their students by allowing access to the Plan B pill at the lowest price yet $30. Students can now feel at ease knowing that they do not have to make extra time to stop by the nearest 24-hour pharmacy.
They have the luxury of being able to stop by before class, during class break, or even during a restroom break. The idea behind the vending machine is to be able to acquire these products at any time, for a low-cost.
The vending machine allows the person purchasing the item(s), to feel less exposed or embarrassed. I can imagine it would feel shameful asking a pharmacist for birth control in front of other customers, let alone the Plan B pill.
Most college students tend to be supportive when it comes to safe sex because sex as an adult is natural and normal. The L.A. Times has reported that Singh has received a lot of positive feedback along with gratitude.
Some students have contacted him to ask him how they can get similar vending machines set up on their campuses. Some students may argue that the vending machine is encouraging unprotected sex. The reality is that unprotected sex happens often and most of the time it is not planned.
Students who are opposed to the idea should also take into account that the vending machine also supplies condoms, another form of birth control.
In fact, after the Trump Administration publicly announced their intentions to remove the Affordable Care Act, many women went to their doctors to make sure they secured long term birth control.
A large number of college students are sexually active and are already on some sort of birth control. It would be a wise idea to consider this method on all college campuses.