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 :)