At Stanford University, vending machines no longer just distribute candy bars and sodas, but also abortion pills and other contraceptive devices to encourage their student body's sex lives.
According to Campus Reform, "Stanford University recently installed a vending machine to dispense emergency contraceptives, including a generic brand of Plan-B, outside an 'all-gender restroom' in the student center."
The drug My Way bills itself as an “emergency contraception pill that helps prevent pregnancy after birth control failure or unprotected sex” and is a form of Plan-B, which ends pregnancy in 87% of those who take it within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.
Stanford also subsidizes the items available in the vending machine and charges $25 for My Way, $3.99 for three “external condoms,” $9.99 for three “internal condoms,” and $4.49 for ten Advil.
"Stanford’s student government, Institutional Equity & Access office, and four other offices fund the machine, which sits outside an 'all-gender restroom' in the historic Old Union building," reports Campus Reform. "The machine accepts credit cards, and is located adjacent to another vending machine that dispenses food that can be taken with the contraceptives."
The idea of an "abortion vending machine" was created in 2015 by former Stanford graduate Rachel Samuels, who conceived the idea after her brother installed something similar at Pomona College. When Samuels discovered that a huge majority of students supported the idea, she met with administrators to hash out a legal plan to install the machine.
“It’s a right, and our rights should not be limited to business hours,” Samuels told The Stanford Daily.
“In the end, Stanford administrators did step up and do it, and I’m very grateful for that,” she added. “It’s nice to just keep in mind that they really should be caring about students, and this was a time when they did.”
Students contend that the vending machine is necessary to help subsidize the cost for My Way.
Earlier this year, UC Davis installed a similar vending machine offering the same products. Students at Berkeley have been petitioning for the college to provide free abortions.