Miami University student group hopes to install Plan B ‘morning after pill’ vending machine on campus
Washington D.C., Mar 15, 2023 / 15:55 pm
Miami University’s student government association has plans to install a “Plan B” emergency contraception vending machine on its Oxford, Ohio, campus in time for the fall semester.
Plan B emergency contraception, also known as “the morning-after pill,” is a one-step pill that can sometimes act as an abortifacient.
Though plans have not yet been finalized, the university’s student government has proposed purchasing the pills in bulk and selling them in a campus community hall to make them available to students 24/7 at a discounted price, according to student government meeting notes.
Miami University would be the first school in Ohio to have a contraception vending machine on campus.
Sophomore Ryan Parker, one of the students behind the proposal, told The Miami Student that he expected the university’s administration to approve the initiative.
“We’re still kind of working out those logistics with a bunch of different departments on campus, but everyone has been overly supportive so far,” Parker told the student newspaper.
Several universities throughout the U.S. already have similar emergency contraception vending machines on campus including George Washington University, the University of California-Los Angeles, and Boston University.
The initial purchase of the machine and pills would be paid for by the school’s Associated Student Government, which, like other student-run organizations, receives money from the university. The continued stocking of the pills would be funded by the sale of pills to students.
According to the manufacturers, the pill is designed to be effective for up to 72 hours, preventing ovulation and thus stopping a pregnancy before conception.
However, some say that the Plan B pill can act as an abortifacient. According to Miami University Students for Life, “emergency contraception has the potential to end a human life.”
“There are two ways Plan B is capable of ending the life of a conceived human. First, its chemical makeup directly affects the hormones at play within the female reproductive system and can prevent enough progesterone (the ‘pregnancy hormone’) from sustaining the offspring,” the petition states.
“Second, Plan B is capable of creating an inhospitable uterine environment with the thinning of the endometrium. This uterine lining is, without artificial interference, thick and ready for a conceived child to implant and continue the gestational process. If the embryo survives all of Plan B’s previous defenses and arrives at the uterus only to find nowhere to implant, he or she will die.”
Miami University Students for Life said the initiative, which proposes allocating $3,500 for the Plan B vending machine, would use student-funded dollars for something that could be harmful to women’s health.
“Current research shows Plan B can cause serious complications, be ineffective, and potentially create more serious long-term health conditions,” Miami University Students for Life said in an online petition to stop the vending machine.
Alecia Lipton of Miami University’s media relations office told CNA that “the proposed Plan B vending machine is not a university initiative but is a student-led project of the Associated Student Government [ASG] at Miami University.”
“If an emergency-contraception vending machine were to be purchased by the Associated Student Government, it would be funded by monies controlled by ASG, not the Miami administration,” Lipton said. “The proposed vending machine would dispense the over-the-counter contraceptive medication, Plan B, which delays or prevents ovulation but does not end a pregnancy that has implanted.”
According to Lipton, “at this point there is neither any certainty that a vending machine will be installed nor a specific time frame or date for completion of this proposed initiative.”
Still, she told CNA that plans are underway to make a Plan B vending machine available to students.
“The Associated Student Government is working to determine sourcing of products, costs, and a potential on-campus location,” she said.
Caroline Wharton, a representative of the national group Students for Life of America, told CNA that the organization supports its Miami University chapter’s petition to stop the Plan B vending machine.
“‘Emergency contraception’ is really an abortifacient with the potential to kill preborn life,” Wharton said. “Beyond being a danger to children in the womb, having such drugs in a vending machine also increases their ability to be put in the hands of an abuser, putting women at risk as well.”
“Campuses should have life-affirming resources available for students — assisting with things like child care, financial aid, needed materials, food, etc. for pregnant and parenting students — instead of encouraging a culture of irresponsible sexual activity, disregard for preborn life, and possible abuse,” Wharton said.
Abortion is legal in Ohio until 22 weeks of pregnancy. An Ohio law banning abortion after a detectable heartbeat, typically six weeks’ gestation, is currently blocked as it works its way through the state court system.