Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Student Health Services allows men to pick up Plan B.

While Washington University has offered Plan B for several years, it previously refused men the right to pick it up. For the past several months, though, male students have been able to pick up the pill at SHS.

The policy is in keeping with the national standard that any person, male or female, may pick up Plan B if over the age of 16 years.

Plan B is available at local pharmacies, where it typically costs anywhere from $40 to $90. The Habif Health and Wellness Center at SHS sells the pill for $20.

This past summer, Student Health Services (SHS) changed its policy regarding Plan B. Before this summer, students needed prescriptions to obtain the Plan B pill, which meant only females were able to pick it up at SHS.

With the 2012 presidential campaign heating up, abortion and birth control issues have moved to the forefront of the political landscape.

Plan B, or the “morning after pill,” has been especially controversial since the FDA approved it in 2004. The pill is a form of emergency contraception, and is effective in preventing pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

“I do think it is effective and the right thing to do. It potentially increases access to safe and effective medication,” Dr. Alan Glass, assistant vice chancellor and director of the Habif Health and Wellness Center, said in an email to Student Life.

Nevertheless, Dr. Glass said that very few male students have come to SHS to purchase Plan B.

Still, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department professor Amy Cislo said providing the option is important.

“I think that it’s a good idea for the campus pharmacy to follow the same protocol as other pharmacies,” Cislo said.

Students voiced support for the policy change as well.

“I’m actually really excited [about this] for women who don’t feel strong enough to go in themselves; it’ll be great for their boyfriend or partner to [be able to] go in,” senior Jennifer Locke said. “At the same time, boyfriends have to be careful about pressuring their girlfriends to take Plan B; there’s definitely a boundary that should not be overstepped.”

“It’s always good to have the opportunity to do something,” she added. “It’s a great topic of debate and I think … this is a good step, with rights for women and for men, and the equality of both.”

Freshman Dylan Gallagher also said he is in favor of the change.

“It’s just one of those things you have to do when the situation arises,” he said. “I think that’s the gentlemanly thing to do.”

With additional reporting by Michael Tabb.

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878