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Testimony in support of LD 37

On February 5, 2019, our intern, Aiden Ciaffaglione from the University of Maine, testified at the Maine State House in support of LD 37 “An Act to Allow for the Sale of Nonprescription Drugs through Vending Machines.” Below is his testimony.

LD 37 – Ought to Pass

To the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business speaking in support of LD 37 “An Act to Allow for the Sale of Nonprescription Drugs through Vending Machines”

Senator Herbig, Representative Larson Daughtry and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business, my name is Aiden Ciaffaglione and I am here today to testify in support of LD 37 An Act to Allow for the Sale of Nonprescription Drugs through Vending Machines.

I am a student at the University of Maine and an intern with the Mabel Wadsworth Center, a sexual and reproductive healthcare provider in Bangor. At the University of Maine, I am involved in several student organizations, but, most importantly, I am a Resident Assistant in my residence hall. In this position, I offer on-campus residents resources to help them adjust to college living, while also developing a safe and inclusive community. The students I work with commonly come to me with concerns over their lack of financial stability and access to reproductive health resources.

As their RA, I try my absolute best to provide them with as many resources as possible in order to better their experience at college; but, being a student myself, there is only so much I can do. This bill will allow students to lessen their stress about accessing resources for safer sex and allow them to redirect their focus onto their studies.

Within my first semester of being an RA, I had the experience of supporting several students through the strenuous process of trying to access emergency contraception. One distinct memory I have was on a Friday night at approximately 11:30 pm, when one of my male identifying residents knocked on my door almost in tears because he was afraid he did not have options to help his girlfriend. He explained that they were using a university-provided condom, but it broke, creating a panic over the possibility of a pregnancy.

I managed to scramble together some information about Mabel Wadsworth Center and other nearby clinics that could help and gave him some information on accessing Plan B. The only problem was that pharmacies were not open and he had no way of getting to a store the next day.  He looked into the health center on our campus, but they did not provide the emergency contraceptive, and they did not have walk-ins readily available on the weekends.

He and his partner had to take a bus into Bangor and walk to every store, but no one had Plan B available. They finally found the pill on the shelf of a Target pharmacy, where there were only 3 boxes left. What would have happened if they were the fourth couple to come in that day looking for Plan B? These are not issues that students should be facing, nor do I want my residents to ever encounter them. They should be focusing on the education they are paying for and not panicking about accessing healthcare.

I support this bill for my own reproductive health and the health of my residents because we deserve better access to contraceptive and sexual health resources on campus. No student should feel as though they have no backup options when being faced with the possibility of pregnancy, and they should have options for safer sex readily available on campus.

Thank you for your time, and I hope that you will vote “Ought to Pass” on LD 37 for the wellbeing of the students at all Maine universities.