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Since the Campus Y began its initiative to provide UNC students free emergency contraceptives for the 2022-23 academic year, more students and organizations are stepping in to provide further access to and awareness about reproductive resources.

In February, Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UNC Chapel Hill will launch its own anonymous delivery of free emergency contraceptives, like Plan B, to students. Mi Pueblo, UNC’s largest Latino organization, is also working to promote the Campus Y’s emergency contraceptive distribution program.

Anna Souhan, the president of PPGA, said that when the program starts there will be an online form for students to fill out with their preferred method of communication. Within 24 hours, someone from PPGA’s distribution committee will reach out and set up a discreet hand off along with instructions for use.

Similarly, Mi Pueblo’s Director of Community Service Laura Saavedra Forero said students can contact the Google Voice number on the Campus Y’s Instagram. Through this number, Saavedra Forero said she will coordinate a pickup process that is convenient to the student.

Alan Rojas-Rodriguez, Mi Pueblo’s co-political action chair, said it is important to provide emergency contraceptives to UNC students as efforts to increase restrictions on reproductive rights are discussed.

“It's going to get worse — that's a reality that we're seeing right now,” Rojas-Rodriguez said. “Within North Carolina and other states in the South, we're going to see restrictions increase."

Rojas-Rodriguez said this initiative is a big step in the right direction of reproductive justice because college students, minorities and anyone in need of care will be able to have access to emergency contraceptives.

The groups receive emergency contraceptive via donations — donors include Charlotte for Choice for the Campus Y and Emergency Contraception for Every Campus for PPGA.

Souhan said there are many restrictions and barriers to accessing emergency contraception, including transportation and cost of the materials themselves. Saavedra Forero said that students on South Campus struggle to get to places around campus, and the market price of emergency contraceptives is already high.

"As college students, access is a big problem,” Saavedra Forero said. “Considering how many folks don't have access to food, then how do we expect them to be able to afford emergency contraceptives?”

In addition to barriers to obtain emergency contraceptives, Rojas-Rodriguez said he thinks there can be a social and cultural stigma surrounding the use of emergency contraceptives — especially within the Latino community. Saavedra Forero said Catholic ties from within the Latin American community may influence the stigma.

“You don't really go to your mom or dad and say ‘Hey, I want reproductive healthcare,’” Rojas-Rodriguez said. “That's just simply something that within the Latinx community is kind of pushed that you don't really talk about it because of religion, because of culture, because of all these other factors. And I believe it shouldn't be stigmatized as much.”

Saavedra Forero said she wants to provide emergency contraceptive access to everyone, whether through the organizations she’s a part of or through helping provide resources to other clubs for members. She said she is working to get as many organizations involved in the initiative as possible because she wants people to be aware of the resource of free emergency contraceptives.

“We're here for you and if the laws are going to take it away and things like that, we're not going anywhere,” she said. “It's us versus the world.”

Souhan said she hopes the PPGA can help people in a difficult situation who don’t have access to other resources.

“This is just free, easy, anonymous and for everyone,” she said.


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