WA becomes first state to subsidize Plan B in college vending machines

Multiple UW departments have not only pledged their support for contraception, but also for abortion as a method of 'reproductive health care.'

Since last fall, the University of Washington has provided a vending machine that features Plan B alongside pregnancy tests, condoms, and snacks.

Earlier this month, Washington became the first state to ensure emergency contraception for students through college campus vending machines via taxpayer dollars. This will include public funding for birth control methods like Plan B to appear alongside medications like Tylenol, as well as snacks and candy throughout state universities and community colleges. 

Washington colleges will be able to apply for a $10,000 grant from the state to provide such vending machines starting this year. The state has allocated $200,000 in funding for institutions to provide these machines.

[RELATED: Planned Parenthood funds Plan B vending machine at Brandeis]

The University of Washington (UW) is continuing its effort of supplying a Plan B vending machine on its campus. Inside this particular machine, students can access Plan B, condoms, pregnancy tests, and pain medications. 

The vending machine was placed in the basement of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library last fall. “The things that YOU care about can and do lead to tangible change,” read a UW student government Instagram post in promotion of the vending machine.

We believe this is an important resource for students who need it,” said Victor Balta, the Assistant Vice President for Communications at UW, in an email exchange with Campus Reform

Balta also stated that no “state funds were not used to procure the machine” and that the vending machine is “self-sustaining from sales, and we priced the products as low as possible, but enough to be able to replenish the stock, as needed.” 

Similarly, the UW Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Medicine released a statement last year prior to the overturn of Roe pledging their commitment to abortion access.

“The University of Washington (UW) Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Medicine firmly support access to abortion services, an essential medical intervention for people in need, offering them choices that maximize their health and dignity in the control of their own bodies and lives,” the statement reads.

“The denial of access to abortion services worsens inequities and is a threat to the dignity of all of us,” it continues. 

The UW Hall Health Center provides health care to students on campus with services like free “safer sex” supplies, birth control devices, abortion referrals, and confidential testing for STDs. 

According to The Seattle Times, the center issued a statement earlier this month in which it affirmed, “The Hall Health team supports improved access to all types of reproductive health care, including medication abortion.” 

“Hall Health is working through the steps necessary to begin offering medication abortion,” The Seattle Times also noted.

[RELATED: Stanford subsidizing ‘Plan B’ vending machine]

After the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year via the Dobbs case, liberal states have taken action to enshrine abortion in state laws. Some universities have also responded by offering students increased access to abortion.

Last year, Campus Reform reported on the student assembly of the College of William and Mary’s vote to subsidize the cost of Plan B for students. 

Campus Reform reached out to all relevant parties and will update this article accordingly.