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Always Have a Plan B

Vending machines containing contraceptives are a good idea

by Published: Feb 15, 2012

Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania has vending machines containing the “morning-after” pill, Plan B available for students for $25.

The Plan B pill is provided along with condoms, decongestants and pregnancy tests in the vending machines. I think this is a great idea and more universities (including Ferris) should look into doing this.

Some women (or men, if they are purchasing it) are embarrassed to walk up to the pharmacy counter and ask for a Plan B prescription. The vending machine option allows discretion. Also, everyone has a right to privacy about their choices when it comes to their personal lives.

Not to mention that many college students are not ready for the obligations and responsibilities of raising a child. Raising a child is very expensive and is a lifelong commitment. In an article from CNNMoney​.com, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 for a middle-income, two parent family averaged $226,920 in 2010 (not including college). Read that again. Not including college. Imagine adding college expenses onto child expenses. I’m sure you don’t want to if you know you’re not ready.

The cost of raising a child has gone up 40 percent from 10 years ago. The cost of diapers, bottles, cribs and clothing have gone up throughout the years. I’m certain you don’t want to spend your paycheck on a pack of diapers and baby food quite yet; I know I don’t.

Yes, I know there is birth control options and of course condoms. But birth control can fail and condoms can break. Also, the cost of Plan B is a bit pricey behind the pharmacy counter, estimating at about $70. Putting $25 into a vending machine doesn’t sound too shabby compared to that price.

Let’s face it: College students have sex. College students in committed relationships have sex and one night stands happen. There is no denying that fact.

According to an article by Kevin Begos from the Associated Press, the machine has been in place at Shippensburg for two years and its existence wasn’t widely known until recently.

Federal law makes the pill available without a prescription to anyone 17 and older. So far, no other vending machine in the U.S. dispenses the contraceptive, which can prevent pregnancy if taken 72 hours after sexual intercourse.

If taken correctly, Plan B can cut the chances of pregnancy up to 89 percent. It works best if taken within 24 hours. The idea for the vending machine was introduced after a survey about health center services in Shippensburg several years ago. The idea was supported by 85 percent of the school respondents and Shippensburg’s student government supported the idea.

An important point brought up from Deanne Hall, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, said the ease of access to such a machine could be a positive to many women, but self-treatment could deter sexual assault victims from seeking medical attention. That does open up a new can of worms. I urge anyone who has been sexually assaulted to contact the police and seek medical attention right away.

I’m all for vending machines containing contraceptives. In my opinion, $25 sounds much better than potentially half a million dollars.

 
 
  • gues

    What a great idea! I know I would be super embarrassed to stand in line at the pharmacy to get Plan B, but even if you are bing safe– accidents happen. My only concern would be where would the vending machine be? I think the best option would be inside the health center or bathrooms, because I’d be more embarrassed to be walking from class to class and see someone in the irc or something buying Plan B than to talk to a pharmacist about it. Haha. Great idea, great article :)