Forget the local drug store. Students at Shippensburg University can buy emergency contraceptive from an on-campus vending machine. The public university, secluded in the mountains of Cumberland Valley, Penn., traded out its chips and soda for Plan B, condoms, decongestants and pregnancy tests.
The university’s Etter Health Center started selling these items two years ago, and no one has taken notice until now. With the recent uproar over Planned Parenthood funding and religious disputes over access to birth control, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to take a closer look at the vending machine.
Tuesday, an official resigned from the The Susan G. Komen foundation over Planned Parenthood funding. Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates disputed over the Obama administration’s recent decision to require church-affiliated employers to offer birth control.
Anyone 17 and older can purchase Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, without a prescription. Records show that all current students attending the school are at least that age. However, the FDA is contacting both state officials and the university to collect more facts, said FDA agency spokeswoman Stephanie Yao.
Since the university is located in a town with a population of 6,000, students say that the vending machine provides an outlet for those who are afraid to go into town to purchase contraceptives.
“I think it’s great that the school is giving us this option,” said junior Chelsea Wehking. “I’ve heard some kids say they’d be too embarrassed.”
A campus health center survey, conducted two years ago, found that eighty-five percent of the students supported making the morning-after pill available, said school spokesman Peter Gigliotti. From there, the student government supported the idea, and the school decided to sell the items in a vending machine.
Gigliotti said the school doesn’t run the risk of just anyone coming in to purchase the pill, especially those that are younger than 17. He said that students must check in at a lobby desk before they can come in.
What do you think? Should these students have to go to the local pharmacy to purchase emergency contraceptive, or should more campus health centers offer these types of vending machines?
Via Time Magazine