Students at one school needing emergency contraception need not look further than a campus vending machine.
Pennsylvania's Shippensburg University sells "Plan B," the contraceptive known as the morning–after pill, in a machine in the school's health center.
This decision was made "in consultation with our medical staff," university spokesman Peter Gigliotti told HLN on Tuesday. Plan B One-Step is available without a prescription to women 17 and older. If taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, the pill cuts the chances of pregnancy.
As controversial as it sounds, Gigliotti said Shippensburg is not the first school to offer the pills. The main question though, is what's to prevent women younger than 17 from accessing Plan B on the campus?
“The machine is in a private room in our health center and the health center is only accessible by students," Gigliotti said. "It is one machine only and is not available anywhere else on campus. In addition, no one can walk in off the street and go into the health center. Students proceed to a check-in desk located in the lobby and after checking in are granted access to the treatment area.”
Besides, Shippensburg is just responding to student demand, an official said.
"We had some conversations with them and did a survey of the student body and we got an 85% response rate that the students supported Plan B in the House Center," said vice president of student affairs Roger Serr, according to HLN affiliate WHP-TV.
The university does not subsidize the $25 price for students, nor does it make a profit from the dose, Serr told WHP. "We were uncomfortable providing it for free, because that would mean we were supporting Plan B with either state money or fee money."
Student Isaac Lalani told HLN affiliate WHTM that the needs of students should be paramount. "It's whatever the students need, they should have, regardless of how controversial it is," he said.
On HLN affiliate WTKR’s Facebook page, commenters were divided:
Tabitha L. said: “A vending machine really? That's so wrong if you aren't grown up enough to protect yourself while having sex and you aren't willing to accept the responsibilities of having sex then just don't do it. The Plan B pill doesn't save you from getting STDs. This is so wrong.”
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Ashley H. said: "I don't think it should be available in that manner. Plan B is a very serious medication that can cause some serious side effects and problems if not taken properly. I think it should be available but at least you should have to talk to someone about it so you are making a informed choice and are aware of all side effects and what not."
In December, an Arizona State University campus removed condom machines from a residence hall citing lack of funds.