The Happy Trail

George Washington University & Plan B vending machines

By Amelia Pooser

Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, legislation and public action are continuing to adapt. Recently, George Washington University in Washington D.C. responded to the Supreme Court ruling by making strides to support their womb-bearing students by providing accessible and private access to morning-after pills.

In early February of this year, George Washington University installed a vending machine in the basement of their student center that sells Plan B, Advil, condoms, and other health necessities. Each pack costs around $30 on-campus compared to the $50 price tag from off-campus stores, not including travel costs.

not including travel costs. The location of the vending machine deliberately gives students more privacy and easy access. This provides students the opportunity to conduct their affairs in private and avoid unnecessary interaction with health professionals or the general public. This decision by the university was also praised by many as the vending machine was completely student motivated.

Two passionate students, Neharika Rao and Aiza Saeed, in light of the reversal of Roe, started a petition to make morning-after-pills more accessible to students. They quickly gathered over 1,500 signatures which prompted the installation of the vending machine.

There is a similar vending machine on the University of Puget Sound’s campus right out front of CHWS health and wellness center on the second floor of the Wheelock Student Center. The vending machine contains the morning-after-pill EContra One-Step for $25 in addition to other health and wellness products. While the alcove where the vending machine is located is somewhat sheltered and private, in comparison to George Washington University’s machine it could be made better by making the location a little more private and isolated.

Students can also arrange an appointment at CHWS and request a morning-after-pill during the appointment. Through an appointment, the pill would cost only $17, but that does not include the cost of the appointment and/or any other additional procedures, like blood work, with prices ranging from $20 to $60. Therefore, the vending machine may be the most affordable and semi-private accessibility point for some students.

In the fight for child-bearing peoples’ health, privacy, and rights, this seems to be a step in the right direction by aiding autonomous decision-making for younger generations. While there is much more to be done, George Washington University and the University of Puget Sound’s decisions should be uplifted as examples for other universities and students across the country.