Vending Machine to Sell Emergency Contraception
March 6, 2012
By popular request, Shippensburg University in central Pennsylvania has stocked one of its vending machines with not candy bars or chips, but emergency contraception (EC). EC is now available to students for $25 in a vending machine.
Also known as the “morning-after” pill, Plan B One-Step emergency contraception can normally be bought over the counter by anyone 17 or older. It is 89-percent effective at preventing pregnancy if taken by a woman within 120 hours of unprotected sex or sex where the method of birth control failed. Shippensburg University checked its records and found that all students were at least 17 years old, and therefore saw no problem with the unique request to offer EC in a vending machine. The machine is accessible to students who have checked in at the university’s private health center.
Though controversy has, of course, erupted over this issue, I think Shippensburg is on the right track. After all, the morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception, not abortion. Easy access will mean fewer unplanned pregnancies. The distribution of the Plan B pill is monitored, securely located and accessible only to students. The availability of the pill will allow female and male students to back up their birth control or offer reassurance if, say, the condom breaks.
In the future, who knows? Maybe other schools could benefit from expanding their vending machines to include emergency contraception, too.