Out of Snickers? Better have a “Plan B”

A more convenient way to purchase emergency contraception.

Candice Wheeler

In effort to make the “morning-after pill” more accessible to students, Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania has made it readily available by the push of a button. Students can purchase Plan B — used to prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after unprotected sex — along with condoms and pregnancy tests, from a vending machine located in the university’s Health Center.
Trending on Twitter with hashtags like #TFM (total frat move) and #WTFNews, the national recognition of this somewhat controversial system is seemingly new. However, the vending machine has been active for the past two years — it’s just now becoming a concern for federal regulators — raising questions about how accessible emergency contraception should be.
There is nothing wrong with making a legal preventative drug more accessible — buying it from a vending machine is hardly different from an over-the-counter purchase.
The installation was set in motion by the student government after a survey found that 85 percent of the 8,500 students said they would make use of the machine if it were available.
Student affairs representative Dr. Roger Serr, who argues the school is not promoting promiscuous behavior, said he hopes the vending machine will create a comfortable atmosphere for its consumers. Even with attention from the Food and Drug Administration, it’s likely the investigation will be short-lived — students are of legal age to purchase the pill, so there are no legal issues.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg supported it saying, “Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females.”
The convenience of the machine would appeal to students from any college and could ultimately help prevent unwanted pregnancies.