Reproductive Health Vending Machines on Student Ballot
BY AMANDA FRANK AND SERENA IMANI KORN
Geoduck Student Union ballots are open and available through MyEvergreen student accounts. Students have through week 10 to vote for their representatives and weigh in on different initiatives.
One of those initiatives concerns access to emergency contraception and other sexual and reproductive health care products.
Backed primarily through the group Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) the measure calls for implementing a vending machine that would provide Plan B emergency contraception. The machine would provide other products that promote safe sex, such as condoms, and pregnancy tests.
The health center currently provides Plan B, but students must make an appointment and hours are limited, according to Khadija Hassan, coordinator of SURJ.
“Because it’s so time sensitive we wanted it to be accessible in a discreet location and available at all times of the day so that people have access to that,” Hassan said. “We’re hoping to do it in a way so students don’t have to pay and the school doesn’t have to pay. So reaching to outside organizations and asking them to come in like Naral Pro-choice Washington and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and asking them if they have any support or any other people that we can go to.”
Students can voice their detailed opinions about this issue beyond the ballot through an online survey. The link is available on the Greener Commons, in a thread on Plan B in the Campus Life section https://commons.evergreen.edu/t/plan-b-vending-machines-on-campus/495/9. Students are also welcome to attend SURJ meetings to discuss this and other issues around reproductive health. The group meets every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Seminar 2 C 1107.
“I just encourage anyone of any gender spectrum or non-gender spectrum to become a part of the dialogue and a part of the conversation, because it’s important to get those perspectives too and what kind of resources they would like to see in the vending machines,” Hassan said.
Addressing possible opposition, Hassan also spoke to the importance of preventative education.
“Personally I think the best way to approach reproductive health is through preventative care and I would love it if like there were better sex education classes and if there were more resources for students but that’s not the reality of where we are in reproductive justice and we have to meet the needs of where people are right now.”