Morning-after pill to be sold in vending machines at N.Y. colleges

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Instead of just selling snacks and sodas, vending machines across the country are beginning to offer emergency contraception, in the form of what’s commonly known as the “morning-after pill.”

The machines are already in place at some New York colleges, including Barnard college and Columbia University.

“I have definitely seen them and it was a big hype when they first put them in, it’s really good to have those resources right on campus,” Danielle Smith, a student at Columbia University, said. 

Barnard, a liberal arts women’s college in Manhattan, has a partnership with Columbia, and plans on installing one of the vending machines outside of its primary care service center.

The pills sell for $40 per package, and are being sold in machines that also offer tampons and Advil.

“I think it’s really great that Barnard is actually providing options in a way that is non-discriminatory and people can really access this without shame,” Sydney Custer, a student at Barnard, said.

Alice Lemos, secretary for The Bridge to Life, a pro-life organization that offers counseling to pregnant women, said this distribution method could cause problems. 

“We don’t know the long-term effects of high dose hormones is and we are making it more and more difficult for young women to say ‘no,” Lemos said. “We are saying in essence that a pill solves every problem and it doesn’t. It’s not bubble gum, we’re talking about high doses of hormones.”

In a statement, Barnard said: 

“After assessing student need and evaluating best practices among our peer institutions, we decided to install vending machines to ensure students would have access to a range of over-the-counter medications, including emergency contraception, at hours when pharmacies may be closed and they have need.”

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