Miami University plans to install emergency contraception vending machine on campus
Pro-life groups on campus have started petitions opposed to the move
The student government at Miami University in Oxford, OH plans to install an emergency contraception vending machine on its campus, but the deal has not been finalized, the college confirmed to Fox News Digital Tuesday.
The university would be the first higher education institution in Ohio to install a machine giving students 24/7 access to emergency contraception at an affordable price, which campuses like Boston University and George Washington University have already adopted, Fox 19 reported.
"Even though it’s an ‘over-the-counter’ medication, it might not physically be on the shelf," Assistant Vice President for Student Life Dr. Steve Large told Fox 19. "Shoppers may need to ask a store clerk for assistance, which can be intimidating."
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The Plan B or the "morning after pill" vending machine would offer the emergency contraception at a discounted price that has not been determined, but a university spokesperson told Fox 19 that other colleges have offered the pills for around $7 to $15.
"Emergency contraception can be difficult to purchase," Large said. "It can be expensive — $40 to $50 at the pharmacy — and individuals might need it at odd hours when stores are closed."
Ryan Parker, the Secretary of Safety and Wellness "spearheaded" the effort for the vending machine following a push from Miami's Associated Student Government (ASG), according to a statement given to Fox 19.
During a proposal for the machine at an October meeting, Parker, along with Academic Senator Maggie Ryan touted the vending machine as a way to offer "less expensive options for emergency contraceptives and placing it in a location that is more private," which will be self-sustaining, but not profitable for the university.
Both the Students for Life of America and Students for Life at Miami University started a petition against the vending machine.
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"Miami University – Ohio has a strong pro-abortion presence on campus," the petition summary states. "Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio and pro-choice clubs on campus were invited to participate in a Reproductive Rights Townhall on September 1, and shortly after, an initiative to place a Plan B vending machine on campus began."
"MU Students for Life, along with the undersigned, demand that school administration prevents this harmful Plan B vending machine from being installed on campus," the petition added.
The move would require $3,500 student-funded dollars to install and stock the vending machine, according to the petition.
The student group also laid out their concerns regarding Plan B including current research that they said shows Plan B can cause serious complications, leading to potentially serious long-term health conditions.
"Some of the biggest concerns include the Plan B classification by the World Health Organization as a Group 1 Carcinogen and the 44% increased risk of developing breast cancer before the age of 50" and the "increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, the implantation of the embryo outside of the uterus, which is a life-threatening condition that is also capable of causing life-long infertility."
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"In addition to these risks, there are harmful potential side effects that may occur from using this drug: dizziness, vomiting, increased chance of irregular menstruation and the development of ovarian cysts, and a higher risk of infection," the petition added.
The group also said having a Plan B vending machine on campus makes the emergency contraception more accessible to "abusers."
"While the vending machine may sound like a nice idea in theory to supporters, the fruition of this initiative would enable men to buy the drug in bulk and perpetuate their seemingly ‘consequence-free’ abuse via the forceful administration of it upon their victims," the petition concluded. "Having this harmful drug readily available to students is unsafe."
Miami University made clear in a statement to Fox News Digital that the proposed Plan B Vending Machine is not a university initiative, but is a student project led by the ASG.
"If an emergency contraception vending machine were to be purchased by the Associated Student Government (ASG), it would be funded by monies controlled by ASG, not the Miami administration, the statement said. "Those monies support hundreds of student organizations, including service-oriented, cultural, political, social, career-based, recreational, and more, representing the full spectrum of student interests and beliefs."
"As proposed, the vending machine’s maintenance and restocking costs would need to be funded by sales of the product; they would not be paid by Miami or by student fees," the statement added.
The university also clarified that Plan B is an over-the-counter contraceptive medication, "which delays or prevents ovulation, but does not end a pregnancy that has implanted, according to the Mayo Clinic" which is different from the "abortion pill" also known as Mifeprex/mifepristone.
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"The Associated Student Government is working to determine sourcing of products, costs, and a potential on campus location," the statement said. "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."
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America and SFLAction told Fox News Digital that "students deserve to be safe and supported at school, not pressured to take pills in an attempt to erase children, and women arenot being told that the drugs can act as abortifacients."
"As a parent, I wonder why any school would prioritize ending the lives of future students or exposing young women to abusive or coercive partners who buy a few pills to end the life of a child, making sure women take them whether they know it or not," she said. "There are not responsible, caring adults involved in these events, just easy access to pills that can harm women, who are abandoned to whatever happens next."
"But changing the definitions doesn't change the facts, and gaslighting is bad public policy," she added.