April 13, 2024

Free condoms, Plan B pills and Narcan provided at new vending machine on near east side

A new vending machine provides free emergency contraception inside Dear Mom, a locally-owned store on the near east side of Indianapolis. - Elizabeth Gabriel / Side Effects Public Media

A new vending machine provides free emergency contraception inside Dear Mom, a locally-owned store on the near east side of Indianapolis.

Elizabeth Gabriel / Side Effects Public Media

A new vending machine provides free emergency contraception on the near east side of Indianapolis, as part of a collaboration between Indiana reproductive justice groups and a local business.

Nestled between a coat rack and records, the new vending machine sits in the back of Dear Mom, a locally-owned store on the near east side of Indianapolis that sells records, healthy foods and hosts community events.

The machine provides free products such as the contraceptive pill, Plan B, condoms and Narcan. 

The new partnership between the Indiana Task FORCE (Feminists Organizing and Reimagining Civic Engagement), All-Options, Midwest Access Coalition decided to work with Dear Mom due to the store’s location on the IndyGo Blue Line and down the street from the John Boner Community Center, where people are already seeking resources. 

Lacey Davidson, the director of partnerships for Indiana Task FORCE, said allowing people to easily access these free products aims to reduce barriers to emergency contraception due to finances, transportation and stigma. 

“We think that the way and the path forward in our state and our country is to build relationships with people who have the vision and the imagination to think about a different world,” Davidson said. “One that has everything that it needs so that all people can thrive with no exceptions. And that's a part of this model.”

Other communities across the country are installing vending machines with low-cost contraception options at over 60 universities, including at least two Indiana campuses.  

It’s in response to laws restricting or banning abortions that have swept the nation after Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022

Earlier this year, Indiana lawmakers passed a bill that requires hospitals to offer long-term birth control to people on Medicaid who have recently given birth, but excludes the implementation of intrauterine devices (IUDs).

This week, Iowa lawmakers asked the Supreme Court to let its restrictive abortion ban go into effect.

“It’s been a devastating couple of years,” said Liz Foster, owner of the store Dear Mom. “I have two little girls, and the thought of them not having resources that should be available to them was just hard for me to think about. So yeah, it was kind of a no brainer for me.”

The organizations hope to eventually include zines in the vending machine, which would provide pocket-sized information about sexual health, and install similar vending machines statewide. 

Community members are able to access the vending machine at Dear Mom from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 

Indiana Task FORCE is a member-led organization focused on reproductive justice. 

All-Options (formerly Backline) provides support for people making decisions related to pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. 

Midwest Access Coalition supports pregnant people seeking abortion assistance with travel, lodging, food, childcare, medication, and more.

Contact WFYI’s health reporter Elizabeth Gabriel at egabriel@wfyi.org

Side Effects Public Media is a health reporting collaboration based at WFYI in Indianapolis. We partner with NPR stations across the Midwest and surrounding areas — including KBIA and KCUR in Missouri, Iowa Public Radio, Ideastream in Ohio and WFPL in Kentucky.

 

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