An increasing number of public universities have decided to make contraceptives available to students via a campus vending machine, a concept that began being implemented over five years ago and is slowly spreading nationwide.
According to reports, George Mason University in Virginia installed its vending machine in October following student interest, and Columbia University in New York stocked a touch-screen vending machine with pills, condoms, feminine hygiene products and pain relievers this past August, with two more stated to come at the time of the announcement.
Barnard College in New York plans to make Plan B and other contraceptives available via the vending option next semester, and Miami University in Ohio voted last month to install a vending machine on campus, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last year, the University of California’s San Diego campus installed a “wellness” machine in its Price Center, following in the footsteps of the Davis and Santa Barbara campuses. Stanford University started vending contraceptives in 2017, and Pomona College installed a vending machine in its “wellness room” in 2015.
“I really hope that this machine can help make comprehensive reproductive healthcare products accessible to all students who need them, as well as promote the idea that academic success is tied to personal wellness,” Sixth College Senator Caroline Siegel-Singh told The Triton, the publication of UC San Diego.
“I think these are just basic resources that students need on campuses,” then-senior Parteek Singh, 21, who had advocated for the installation of the Davis machine, also told the Sacramento Bee. “Most college students are sexually active … and these resources should be provided to them.”
Yale’s undergraduate student government sought this year to have a contraceptive vending machine installed on its campus, but later learned that it was against state law for over-the-counter drugs to be sold in such a manner. Council president Saloni Rao states that she still wants to work toward stocking a vending machine with condoms.
Students can obtain contraceptives for free via most public university health plans, and can also purchase Plan B at most campus health centers. However, students had argued that the vending machines are necessary because they can’t purchase the pills at night or on the weekends when they desire them.
They also stated that the method keeps their purchase more anonymous and “judgment-free.”
“It’s just a machine. It’s not going to give you any look or anything,” Singh stated in 2017.
According to the New York Times, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania was one of the first schools to make Plan B available via the vending option.
However, while some have applauded the idea as being “a valuable service” to students, others have lamented the development as being a reflection of the state of the nation and its moral deficit.
“I think it probably is pointing to something very real when we are told that many of these students actually don’t want any human contact whatsoever. They would prefer to get this pill not from the clinic, not from the campus pharmacy, but from a machine,” Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a commentary on Tuesday.
“That also tells us something; it tells us something very important in moral terms about the context in which this kind of urgency and this desire for anonymity is being perceived,” he mourned.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 reads, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor—not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.”
Ephesians 5:3-5 also warns, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints—neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient—but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know: that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge,” Hebrews 13:4 declares.