Student organizations hand out free Plan B in reproductive care kits, halted by Student Activities

Emily Harrison, Life & Arts Reporter

Among the many groups tabling on Speedway, usually offering stickers and cheap food, members of the Texas Visual Arts Collective and Students for Planned Parenthood partnered up to hand out an atypical freebie — Plan B.

“A lot of marginalized groups are having to travel just (to) get access to resources they don’t have access to (in Texas) by crossing state lines and doing things that are potentially going to put them at more risk,” said Vanadana Sashadri, TVAC co-director and co-founder.

Inspired and angered by Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion in Texas after six weeks, TVAC and SFPP took to Speedway on Feb. 10 in protest. They provided students with free reproductive care kits including Plan B, and raised money for the cause by selling hand-made art. TVAC directed all proceeds — more than $1,000 — toward SFPP.

However, Student Activities arrived on scene during the event after someone reported SFPP to UTPD for handing out Plan B, Sashadri said. 

Student Activities told the two organizations that distributing medical substances without proper authorization is illegal according to the University handbook, said Riya Anand, TVAC external event planning chair.

The booth was shut down immediately.

“They said we didn’t have the proper authorization, but (SFPP) did end up handing out most of their kits before (it) happened,” Anand said.

SFPP president Gabi Antuna said she took the time to read through the University handbook and found the vague policies confusing.

“It definitely didn’t seem like we needed to have a license to give out Plan B because (the handbook) only talks about prescription medicine and guidelines for employees,” Antuna said. “Plan B isn’t a prescription.” 

After their encounter with UTPD on Feb. 10, TVAC returned to Speedway the following day to continue fundraising and selling art. This time, SFPP left the Plan B at home. Antuna said SFPP is currently communicating with Planned Parenthood’s legal experts to clarify their rights.

“We’re definitely trying to figure out how to navigate this going forward, and what the safest options are for our (organization),” Antuna said.

SFPP created a GoFundMe before the pop-up event, and when authorized to, Antuna said they will use the money raised to buy more Plan B to give out to college students.

“We have lots of other events coming up with Planned Parenthood,” Antuna said. “(We’ll be) tabling at concerts out in the community and protests.”

Both SFPP and TVAC will continue advocating for reproductive rights this semester through their own separate events, including a TVAC partnership in April with Jane’s Due Process, a non-profit that advocates for reproductive rights.

”It’s always important to try and protect marginalized people,” Sashadri said. “That’s what we’re doing (by) partnering with Jane’s Due Process and Planned Parenthood and focusing on reproductive rights in general.”