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EL Human Rights Commission advocates for free emergency contraceptive vending machines at MSU

The photo shows a box of Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive pills. The box is white with blue and orange accents. The front of the box has the Plan B logo and the words "Emergency Contraceptive" in large blue letters. The back of the box has more information about the pills, including how to take them and when to take them. The pills are contained in a blister pack inside the box. The blister pack has one tablet, which is the entire dose.
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The East Lansing Human Rights Commission is advocating for a program that would establish community vending machines that offer free over-the-counter emergency contraceptives. The machines dispensing Plan B would be installed on campus at Michigan State University. The medication can prevent pregnancy when taken within three days after having unprotected sex.

Julia Walters is the vice chair of the commission. She says the vending machines with the medication included would cost around $3500.

She anticipates the funding for the program could come from MSU and other local reproductive rights nonprofit organizations. Walters says the city of East Lansing would most likely not fund the program directly.

“The role of the city kind of how we're seeing it at this point is as a supportive measure and then also just as an advocacy body because the Human Rights Commission is tasked with supporting and being able to realize human rights to all,” she said.

Walters is a 2023 MSU graduate. She says she worked with the Human Rights Commission in February to host a community conversation focused on reproductive justice.

“This idea was brought up again, and we want to help and support the community to better ensure reproductive health care access for our students including MSU students,” she added.

Walters says having the vending machines at MSU would fill in a gap for students.

“Although there is an option of affordable emergency contraceptives, it is located in the pharmacy, which is not on campus, and so it's not accessible distance wise to students and only open during business hours,” she said. “So, students are confined to that 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. space.”

Walters says she’s setting up a meeting with MSU administrators in the coming weeks to discuss funding and implementation for the project.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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