A vending machine that dispenses emergency contraception pills was installed on The George Washington University's campus Tuesday.
Student leaders Neharika Rao and Aiza Saeed worked for months to get the machine installed at GW after Roe V. Wade was overturned. They said they followed the lead of other U.S. schools that installed similar machines to ensure reproductive rights.
“After Roe v. Wade was overturned, we felt a lot of passion in making sure that people felt supported on this campus,” Rao said.
Rao and Saeed surveyed 1,500 students about the machines and received overwhelmingly positive responses.
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“Not a lot of pushback; the only concern was about discreetness and how we could make sure that students felt that it wasn’t a very public way to go and get some type of contraceptive,” Rao said.
That is why they put the vending machines in the basement of the student center, Rao said.
“Getting something accomplished like this is kind of like a legacy for me, because I’m a senior, so I’m graduating, so now people will know, like, 'Oh, those girls did that,”' Saeed said.
Besides emergency contraception pills, the machine also dispenses wellness products such as Tylenol and tampons.
GW Student Association President Christian Zidouemba told News4 that machine likely wouldn’t have been possible in his home country of Burkina Faso.
“In west Africa, oftentimes it’s taboo to be able to possess those contraceptive products overall, such as Plan B,” Zidouemba said.
He said coming to the U.S. showed him a different perspective and that he’s passionate about reproductive rights.
“I believe that anyone who wants to be able to have contraceptive products should be able to do so on their own,” Zidouemba said.
The pills currently cost $25, but Zidouemba said they are exploring options to reduce that cost in the future.
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