Campus, News

Emergency contraceptive vending machine to be restocked

Plan B vending machine
A sign stating an update for the restock of the Plan B vending machine. Emergency contraceptives will be available to purchase the week of Oct. 11. ANNIE MAYNE/DFP STAFF

After working through technical difficulties, the emergency contraceptive vending machine will be restocked the week of Oct. 11, featuring a larger machine that will be able to carry “a wider variety of products.”

The restock is an update to Students for Reproductive Freedom’s Instagram post on Sept. 8, stating the machine which sells Plan B pills to students for $7.25, will be out of stock due to shipment delays and issues with the newest refill.

Between now and Oct. 11, emergency contraception resources will still be available through BU Student Health Services and local pharmacies, according to SRF Instagram post announced on Sept. 29.

The vending machine was a culmination of a five-year project by SRF, and the unveiling was an “exciting and emotional event” for club members.

Grace Rembert, the secretary for SRF and a junior in the College of Fine Arts, said SRF is installing an entirely new vending machine to replace the older machine and accommodate the new shipment of Plan B.

“The box size physically would not fit in the coils of the vending machine,” Rembert said. “We are getting an entirely new machine, a full size vending machine that is going to be installed the week of Oct. 11.”

Located in the basement of the George Sherman Union, the machine is accessible to students passing through Central Campus, said Shana Weitzen, the podcast director for SRF, abortion pills campaign member with SHS and sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I walk to the machine, I swiped my card, and I have it in my hand,” Weitzen said.

Rembert said another added benefit of the machine is that it allows contraceptives to be purchased anonymously.

“(The machine) take out the extra person, the cashier, something that can introduce shame into the equation,” Rembert said. “The fact that we’re able to take that out and keep it anonymous and keep it cheap and affordable is super important.”

Weitzen said SRF is looking to add more inclusive emergency contraceptive options to the machine, such as ella products, that are more effective for people of a higher body weight than traditional Plan B medication.

“Emergency contraceptives are one of the most important ways that people prevent pregnancies, especially in our population group like college students, ” Weitzen said.

Weitzen said SRF feels “relief” at the return of the vending machine and really wants to be able to continue to “support students and their reproductive health.”

“It’s nice for people to know that they have options that are affordable, and very accessible and also pretty much anonymous, which I think are the three most important things surrounding access to any kind of reproductive care,” Weitzen said.

Piper Gilliam, freshman in the College of Communication, said that the machine is helpful to students.

“I think it’s very important because obviously as students we don’t have a large budget,” she said. “Having access to Plan B and contraceptives that are affordable is really important for students because we need that sense of freedom and access to healthcare.”

The anonymity and ease of the machine is valued by SRF.

“It’s important for us to let people know that we really are doing everything we can to get it up and running,” Rembert said. “We really have been scrambling for the last month to try to get things back together.”

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