Jeenah Moon/The New York Times

A vending machine at Liberty Inn, the last hourly rate hotel in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, Aug. 9, 2022. The inn occupies its own concrete island in a neighborhood that was once home to sailors and meatpackers.

November 27, 2022

Planned Parenthood Generation Action Advocates for Plan B Vending Machines On Campus

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Planned Parenthood Generation Action, a campus organization that champions sexual education and reproductive justice, is promoting the implementation of Plan B vending machines on campus.

Plan B, along with other morning-after contraception pills, is used to lower the chances of pregnancy due to unprotected sex. Pills can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but they are more effective when taken earlier.

After the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, which gave states the authority to ban or protect abortion, there has been a greater emphasis on emergency contraception. In the wake of the decision, many Americans stocked up on the morning-after pill to better control their reproductive futures.

Plan B vending machines are spreading across college campuses to provide around-the-clock, affordable access to emergency contraception.

“I got inspired by seeing a post on Instagram from Boston University where they had [implemented Plan B vending machines] and reached out for more information,” said Marley Levy ’24, PPGA member.

At Boston University, students spent five years advocating for contraception vending machines on campus. On March 1 the machine was unveiled with a price of $7.25 for Plan B, compared to most retailers that charge $40 to $50.

Through conversations with Cornell Health, PPGA decided to collect survey responses on perspectives towards a Plan B vending machine.

“The survey’s purpose was to gain responses from the community to gauge the need for the machines, price points, where they should go and what should be in them,” Levy said.

While Cornell Health offers emergency contraception, their restricted hours limit access, especially considering emergency contraception is more effective when taken earlier. Furthermore, off-campus pharmacies are not always convenient.

PPGA is working to provide an option where students feel comfortable purchasing emergency contraception.

“I want to assure the community that we are putting thought into the location and understand the desire for a location that is accessible but feels private,” said Levy.

Megan Edwards ’26 said that a Plan B vending machine would be a valuable campus resource.

“I think that a Plan B vending machine on campus is a great idea,” said Edwards. “It would help students worry less about accessibility and time to access emergency contraception.”

Sophie Meng ’26 said that Plan B vending machines promote reproductive choice.

“I think giving students easier access to emergency contraception is a good idea because everyone should be able to choose how they want to handle their unique situation,” Meng said.

Cornell Health had previously considered implementing emergency contraceptive machines on campus but found difficulty gaining adequate funding. PPGA is exploring various possibilities to raise funds.

“In the grand scheme of things, we wouldn’t need an astronomical amount to put our plans into action,” Levy said.

However, Levy said that the University’s strong response to Roe v. Wade proves that reproductive justice is valued on campus.

“I believe that the funding of [Plan B vending machines] would be the University caring for its students,” Levy said.