University Installs Plan B Vending Machine
Shippensburg College in central Pennsylvania is making headlines for recently deciding to offer Plan B emergency contraceptive from a vending machine located on campus for $25.
Aside from the pill, the machine located inside in the Etter Health Center also dispenses condoms, cough drops, decongestants and pregnancy tests. The school installed the machine after surveying the student body and finding that 85 percent of students supported the idea.
Plan B emergency contraceptive is available over the counter to anyone 17 or older, but has never been available through a machine until now. The pill contains a drug that stops ovulation and can reduce the chance of pregnancy by up to 89 percent if taken within 3 days, but works best when taken in the first 24 hours.
Peter Gigliotti, spokesman for the university said “the machine is in a private room in our health center, and the health center is only accessible by students.” He explained that “students proceed to a check-in desk located in the lobby and after checking in are granted access to the treatment area.”
Gigliotti also explained “the cost for the medication is paid by the purchasers. No state tax funds or student health fees are used for the medication.”
Dr. Roger Serr, the college's Vice President of Student Affairs added, “the machine is really used as much for privacy as anything else.”
“[Shippensburg] is now offering curbside abortions in the form of morning after pills (Plan B), which are being discreetly sold to students in a vending machine located at the campus’ health center for $25 a pop,” said Students for Life of America representative, Kristan Hawkins. “I really can’t understand what’s private about putting money into a machine to purchase a lethal drug and then watching folks bang on it when the pill box gets stuck.”
Allyson Oppman, a junior at Shippensburg agrees with the installation of the machine. "Sometimes, in certain situations, it's really needed," she said. "And most people do not want to go to a pharmacy. It's more embarrassing to go to complete strangers."
Senior Keisha Burns says "it's ridiculous that it's in a vending machine because it doesn't send the right message. You can get a soda and potato chips in a vending machine, so it lightens the situation." She was not opposed to the availability of the contraceptive on campus, but rather expressed that "the way it's being presented to [students] is the issue."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.