University vending machine offers Plan B

Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM   |   0 comments

SHIPPENSBURG, Md., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Shippensburg University students can buy the morning-after pill from a vending machine at the campus health center, officials at the Pennsylvania school say.

After a 2008 student-interest survey showed overwhelming support for the idea, the school installed a vending machine that offers Plan B contraceptive pills alongside other items such as cough drops, pregnancy tests and condoms, WHAG-TV, Hagerstown, Md., reported Monday.

"We decided to use a vending machine back in our self-care clinic, which also dispenses some other things as well. And that was a way that we could allow convenience for students, also it allowed privacy for students," said Roger Serr, vice president of student affairs.

The machine, located at the end of a long, quiet hallway, offers the emergency contraceptive for $25, separate from the annual student health fees of $150.

"I think the issue is there's no fee money in this, and so that if I'm a student who's paying a health fee, and if I'm morally opposed to Plan B, my money is not really involved in this, and that's real key," said Serr.

Still, some students aren't so sure about easy access to Plan B, which is sold over-the-counter to anyone over the age of 17 at pharmacies.

"To be able to walk up to a vending machine and just get that, get a pill like that, it's just ridiculous," said junior Cassandra Towsley.

In a statement Tuesday, Serr said children under 17 won't have access to the machine.

"The machine, which vends only health-related items, is in a private room in our health center and the health center is accessible only 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 using appropriate identification are granted access to the private treatment area."

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