A Pennsylvania university is causing a stir by offering Plan B at a vending machine in its health center. Beyond the pearl-clutching, though, this may raise some real concerns.
According to the AP, Shippensburg University will offer the emergency contraception pill for $25 in a machine located in a private room in the health center. EC is only legally over-the-counter for people over 17, but Shippensburg determined that all of its 8,300 students are older than that. And in an effort to forestall fears of teenagers sneaking in to steal the delicious, delicious slut pills, university spokesman Peter Gigliotti says,
The machine is in a private room in our health center, and the health center is only accessible by students. 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.
So just to be doubly (triply?) clear, this is a special vending machine at a health center — students won't be picking up their EC where they get their Twix. Basically, it sounds like the school has found a simple, semi-private (no interaction with a pharmacist necessary), and cheap (EC retails for significantly more than $25 at many pharmacies) way for students to get a very safe medication that can prevent pregnancy. Win-win! Except if a student enrolls next year who's under 17. At that point, the school would probably legally have to remove the machine — possibly leading to backlash against that one poor teen. Since many bigger colleges and universities do have students under 17, this is a legitimate concern. Of course, because the FDA has already determined that Plan B is safe for pretty much anyone who can get pregnant, the real solution would just be to make it OTC for everyone. Since that's not happening anytime soon, though, Shippensburg's machine could cause it some difficulties.
Shippensburg University Vending Machine Dispenses Plan B [AP, via Huffington Post]