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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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VOX advocates sexual safety

By Sarah Denby

On Friday, March 19 free birth control was available on the UMW campus.

VOX, or Voices for Planned Parenthood, gave out free Plan B for Back Up Your Birth Control Day at the Student Health Center located in Lee Hall.

Levonorgestrel, which is commonly known as Plan B or the morning after pill, is taken by women after they have had unprotected sex or if their birth control has failed. A common misconception about Plan B, according to VOX president Cara MacDonald is that it is the abortion pill.

If taken within 72 hours after intercourse, Plan B will prevent a pregnancy from happening but it will not work if one is already pregnant.

“Back Up Your Birth Control Day” is just one of the few events that VOX has done in honor of Women’s History Month. The club had a table at the nest with fliers, informing students about this and directing them to the Health Center to pick up a free Plan B if they were interested.

MacDonald, a junior got the idea to give out free Plan B after talking to a representative from Planned Parenthood who works directly with the club.

“I talked to her a while ago about doing something,” MacDonald said. “She mentioned that other VOX clubs on other college campuses had done this and it was successful.”

The club ended up receiving almost 200 samples of Levonorgestrel to give out.

“It’s about a $10,000 value that Planned Parenthood gave us,” she said. “We are really grateful.”

You must be 17 or older to be able to purchase Plan B at a pharmacy. The pill can cost between $55 to $60 dollars without a prescription, and $35 with one.
MacDonald said that some pharmacists at CVS and Giant have given people a difficult time when they went to purchase Plan B, sometimes even denying it to them.

She said that both boys and girls had come into the health center that day to pick up the pill.

“People were really excited about this,” MacDonald said.

Junior and outreach coordinator Olivia Snider was surprised at how fast the Plan B was going.

“Within the first half-hour, 32 were gone,” she said.

“At 12 p.m., we already had a line,” MacDonald said, who handed out the free Plan B at the Health Center. By the end of the day, 151 samples had been handed out.

As a result of  Back Up Your Birth Control Day, VOX received a lot of positive responses from students.

“The worst response that we would get was ‘ no thanks’ and Plan B? Haha,” Sneider said.

VOX also has a condom grant from Trojan Condoms, in which the company gives the club 500 condoms per semester. Members of the clubs give them out at events, meetings, and their own parties.

MacDonald said that one of the main goals of the club is “to remove the stigma of sexual health.”
Junior and Vice President of VOX Anna Halbrooks-Fulks agreed that the stigma is a big concern.

“I think sexual health is very stigmatized especially among teens and young adults. We are trying to work against that,” Halbrooks-Fulks said.

“We like to provide a comfortable environment so people can learn about sexual health. We aren’t going to shame people, make judgments…we are trying to inform people” Sneider said.

Along with promoting the club, MacDonald also says that one of the other main goals of VOX is to provide service.

“We saved people a lot of money” MacDonald said.