Emergency contraception, also known as the “morning-after” pill, has long been a source of controversy and debate. Recently, it has become increasingly accessible, with some colleges opting to provide it in vending machines placed on campus.
Emergency contraception pills prevent ovulation and, therefore, prevent pregnancy from ever happening.
The “morning-after” pills that are available in college vending machines – including both branded and generic products – are progestin-only pills. Progestin-only pills do not require a prescription to use and they do not contain estrogen or the hormone that is linked to an increased risk for dangerous blood clots. (Read more here about the blood clot risks associated with estrogen and combined hormonal contraception options that contain estrogen.)
According to the American Society for Emergency Contraception, there are currently 39 universities in 17 states that have these vending machines on campus and there are at least 20 additional states considering the installation of them.
The availability of emergency contraception in vending machines on college campuses has spurred both support and criticism, shedding light on the complexities surrounding this issue, for example:
Get the Information You Need to Make an Informed Choice
The availability of emergency contraception in vending machines on college campuses is an issue that elicits a spectrum of opinions. Striking a balance between accessibility and the involvement of healthcare professionals is crucial to ensure responsible and informed decision-making regarding sexual health on college campuses.
Talk to your healthcare professional about any questions you might have about your contraception needs, and ask if there is any guidance you need or if there are side effects that could be important for you to be informed about.
Learn more about the different types of emergency contraception by visiting the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health here.
To read more about contraception decision-making, click here.